An intense match is what we got from two teams whose only objective was to run away with a Champions League playoff berth today. A draw was the last result they wanted to fulfil such task — and it was exactly what they got here.
Chelsea started out well, looking comfortable despite playing away from home. But it did not take much time for Valencia, who would be looking to hit us with quick, long passes and counterattacks, to start showing their sharpness in offence against us.
The opening goal came from Valencia’s end. Carlos Soler already had a free header in our box defended by Kepa Arrizabalaga, and he would not waste his second (big) chance.
One minute after that, Chelsea answered in the same way. Mateo Kovacic was the man of the moment, in what was his first ever goal of the season.
Right after that, we had a rather worrying event when Tammy Abraham, in the last minutes of the first half, landed awkwardly on José Gayá’s knees after an aerial scuffle. The young striker was stretchered off the pitch as a result.
Return from halftime, Chelsea were intent on getting themselves the three points. They got the lead five minutes after that with Christian Pulisic, who still got to endure some VAR shenanigans that corrected the pitch referees’ decision to rule out the play as offside.
VAR was once again a factor in a penalty that was ultimately awarded to Valencia, following a foul from Jorginho in our box. And Kepa would not have any of it, defending Dani Parejo’s attempt.
Too bad that we were not able to hold onto that slim 2-1 lead. Daniel Wass attempts a cross from our left flank, and it becomes a goal after fooling everyone, including the goalscorer and our keeper — who instinctively recoiled his hands in the play.
Lampard’s changes did not seem to pan out in an optimal way, and Valencia seemed to have the upper hand in their offensive pressure. But they were unable to get the turnaround at home.
- Biggest change here is centre-back Andreas Christensen for Fikayo Tomori. The Danish returns to Chelsea’s starting lineup for the first time since September, following an injury that kept him out of contention for a month.
- After 70 minutes in the 4-3-3, we change to a 3-4-3 with Emerson’s entrance in place of Jorginho.
- Subs are Batshuayi for Tammy, Emerson for Jorginho and Mount for Willian.
- Get well soon, Tammy!
- Next up: West Ham at the Bridge for the Premier League.