All of us were hoping for a fast start to Chelsea's final Champions League match of 2013, and we certainly got our wish. The Blues looked like they were playing against a youth side for much of the early going, and the only surprise when they took the early lead was that it had taken ten minutes to do so.
John Obi Mikel must have felt bad for the visitors, because he spent the next 10 minutes trying to derp the game away. No harm was done aside from the Nigerian collecting a silly yellow card, and Chelsea were soon generally controlling the play again. We took a 1-0 score into the break, though it really should have been larger after the way the team had played.
The second half should have opened with a quick goal for the Blues, but Demba Ba apparently borrowed some boots from Fernando Torres. There was some big news from the other match in the group though, as Schalke had taken the lead against ten-man Basel, and doubled that lead shortly thereafter. Since a draw or Schalke win in that tie meant that Chelsea needed only a point, the pressure on Chelsea to win the game lifted considerably.
Mourinho seemed to realize that the group was now more or less won, and brought Oscar off in favor of Andre Schurrle. Ramires came on for John Obi Mikel, before Kevin De Bruyne got a rare opportunity with about ten minutes remaining in the game.
That group saw the game out in relatively dull fashion, and the Blues will advance along with Schalke. With the groups stage now completed, we can look forward to the draw for the round of 16 which will be held on Monday, December 16. Here are a few thoughts about the game just completed:
- I'm ecstatic to see that David Luiz was already back in the starting lineup just a day after resuming full training. That should tell you everything you need to know about where he stands in Mourinho's pecking order.
- I was also pretty happy to see both Petr Cech and Ramires start this one on the bench. Cech has been shaky of late, while Ramires just needed a day off.
- Congratulations to Mark Schwarzer, who became the oldest player to ever make his Champions league debut.
- The laser pointer is one of the worst inventions in the history of mankind.
- I enjoyed the willingness of Chelsea to take a short corner if Steaua weren't attempting to defend it. I'd like to see that trend continue rather than simply lumping balls into an overloaded box.
- German paper speculates about a Kevin De Bruyne for Julian Draxler swap
- Chelsea targeting Brazilian striker, according to reports
- Kevin De Bruyne wants to leave Chelsea, according to reports
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