Wednesday night’s game at Stamford Bridge was a fascinating encounter. Two top teams, playing different styles, full of exciting players both young and old, plenty of goal mouth action, good tempo and a climatic finish.
However, the match would not have been so enjoyable for the millions of Chelsea fans, both at the ground and watching on television, as for the neutrals. Oscar made a fantastic first start, his second goal in particular giving a glimpse of the player Chelsea fans can expect to see over the next few seasons, while Eden Hazard once again looked lively. However, defensively they were fragile and Juve’s 3-5-2 system opened up the Chelsea back line far too often.
No one has defended the Champions League since the rebranding, so it would be no failure if Chelsea followed suit. Nevertheless, there are some causes for concern that Roberto Di Matteo must address if his side are to stand a chance of retaining the Champions League.
1. Same Old Chelsea, Just Not As Good
After a bright ten minutes or so, Chelsea found themselves falling into the same old familiar pattern. Granted, this pattern of getting men behind the ball, shutting out the opposition and looking for counter attacks and set pieces for their goals worked very well last season. It did need a lot of luck at times, but in the Allianz Arena Chelsea were the victors.
The problem is they are no longer set up to be uber-defensive. Fernando Torres was isolated upfront and is not the kind of striker who can hold the ball up, unlike Didier Drogba. Oscar did a good job tracking Andrea Pirlo but apart from his two well taken goals he was not in the game anywhere near enough, Hazard and Ramires were more wide midfielders than flying wingers or inside forwards, and Lampard and Mikel did not offer the protection the defence would have expected.
This Chelsea team is set up to attack, to take the initiative and take the game to the opposition. This makes them a lot more attractive to watch but a fluid, free flowing style of football is not something that comes to mind when one thinks of Chelsea. Pace, power, directness are the characteristics of a John Terry-led Chelsea. When the going gets tough they fall into their default setting, unfortunately they are no longer set up for those defensive and indomitable tactics. Nor are they set to become the new Barcelona. They must find a workable middle ground.
We are currently seeking Chelsea contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a Chelsea contributor, click here.
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
- 50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 10 Great Footballers Who Made Terrible Managers
- 100 Greatest Premier League Players Of All Time
- 50 Great Footballers Who Ruled 2012
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings