There is something magical about Champions League nights. Chelsea has a rich history of monumental victories and thrilling matches that even the most neutral of fans would find delight in witnessing.
Three weeks have elapsed since Chelsea’s epic 4-4 draw against Ajax. A match that most would agree had a little bit of everything and more. And yet, three weeks later, Chelsea was able to conjure up the goods for another thrilling Champions League tie against Valencia at the Mestalla.
Chelsea fans will be happy to have not lost this match, effectively keeping their chance to advance past the group stage very much alive. The Chelsea faithful will also have good reason to commiserate, as Chelsea produced quality chances which they were unable to finish. On the other hand, Chelsea fans will also have good reason to take note of the quality of chances Chelsea gave to Valencia, most of which were wasted.
“Happy to a degree. You come here to win a match, obviously. But you respect the opponent, the Champions League and how tough it is and respect a stadium like this. We saw that it was a really tough match for us.
We both had incredible chances, we had one in the first few minutes. We had numerous ones in the first half, so did they. Maybe their chances were more clear-cut than ours. I wouldn’t say I feel fortunate. Did I love the match? No I didn’t love it. Because it hasn’t been many times this season where I have had to say ‘we kind of got away with that’.
Lampard will be happy to come out of a match he deemed “must-not-lose” with a result that keeps their chance of progressing out of the group stage alive. He may not love the manner with which the team achieved that goal, but sometimes crawling your way to the finish line is what needs to be done as long as you finish.
Lampard has every right to feel aggrieved and relieved about the point taken against Valencia. This was a classic topsy-turvy wherein the balance of the game bounced back and forth.
Had Chelsea been a little bit more clinical in front of goal, Chelsea would likely have come out on top. Of course, had Valencia taken their chances, Chelsea would be looking at a more bleak outlook on their Champions League campaign.
“Today was one of those because they missed big opportunities. I can probably think of one game in particular, maybe Leicester at home earlier in the season. The rest of the games we have either won them or got what we deserved or I felt that we deserved more. That can happen in football. Then it is, have you got the character to see you through to the end? Perhaps we deserved the slices of luck that we got tonight, but I won’t take away from the fact that we have to take some of our opportunities. It could have been 5-5, 6-6 one of those games.
It was a very unusual match because of the amount of good opportunities for both teams. We have to be happy with the draw because we gave away too many opportunities. Valencia are a good team and we should be better defensively than we were today. I am happy with the result, it was a really tough match.”
- Frank Lampard; Source: Football.London
Tonight’s draw, while disappointing, still keeps Chelsea’s fate in their hands. A win at home against Lille in matchday six of the group stage would see Chelsea advance from the group stage since the 2017-18 season.
At the end of the day, the best outcome would be to have control in your destiny.
Onwards and upwards.