Well, that did not go according to plan.
Frank Lampard made just one change from Saturday’s 5-2 victory at Molineux, and even that was an enforced one with Kurt Zouma replacing Antonio Rüdiger. Unfortunately the next change was an enforced one as well, as Mason Mount limped off with an ankle injury inside of 15 minutes after a horrendous challenge from Spin-cycle Coquelin. Eden Hazard’s no longer here, Francis!
Mount’s injury disrupted Chelsea’s established rhythm, with Pedro taking a bit of time to get up to speed. Willian did continue his good form from the weekend, but wasted Chelsea’s best chance. At least Tomori and the rest of the defense were looking comfortable, even as the Blues struggled to create too many good chances.
The second half began much the same way as the first half ended, with Chelsea controlling the majority of the possession and the majority of the attacking impetus. But Valencia starting to slowly grow into the game as well, beginning to threaten not just on counters but by creating chances from controlled possession as well.
It was however a set piece that did the trick for the visitors, with Rodrigo making a smart run and doing enough to smuggle the ball past a stranded Kepa.
Chelsea tried to mount a response, and even had two center forwards on, but it was not meant to be. We even got a gift of a penalty after one of those typically silly handball decisions (Tomori’s header bouncing onto Wass’ arm), but Barkley missed it.
So not exactly an ideal start to our Champions League return, especially with tougher games to come.
- 3-4-3 again after the weekend, with Valencia ostensibly looking to counter, just like Wolves, though not playing a three-back system themselves.
- 4-4-2 for the final 15-20 minutes, with Giroud replacing Zouma, then Barkley replacing Kovacic
- Why was Barkley taking that penalty?
- Chelsea fail to score for the
firstsecond time under Lampard. Still can’t keep a clean sheet.
- In the other game, Ajax beat Lille easily, 3-0.
- Next up: Liverpool at home on Sunday, then the League Cup in midweek