Russian media describes Chelsea’s (current) game as “on the whole, [it] can hardly be called well-built” and it’s hard to argue against that when we swing from one extreme (conceding three per game, each goal sillier than the next) to another (back-to-back clean sheets), with the team’s offensive output precisely matching the defensive record in five of the last six games.
So as we head to the far reaches of Europe in our latest search for balance, the local side can feel confident of being able to take advantage of Chelsea’s issues, even as they’re dealing with their own massive injury issues.
Young head coach Murad Musayev, just 36, certainly struck a defiant tone in his pre-match press conference.
“Is there any coach who will show all his cards at the pre-match conference? You will see everything on the field. Chelsea have a good whole team. But they also have problems. We will try to take advantage of their latest difficulties.”
Most seem to agree this means that they will try to hit us on the break — as also advocated by their new fitness coach, former Southampton and QPR coach John Phillips — though they will have to do so without some of their biggest stars, including former Newcastle man Rémy Cabella, former Ajax prospect Wanderson, and Swedish international Viktor Claesson.
Ari, Wanderson, Cabella, Claesson are all likely out for Krasnodar and are key for them. Cabella got his team here for the first time in their short 12 year history.— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) October 27, 2020
But Musaev is confident that his team will be up for the game, especially as it will be their first home game ever in the Champions League.
“For our club, which is only 12 years old, and for the whole city, this is a great event. Chelsea have won the Champions League and many other tournaments. This is a great event for us. We are looking forward to the game.”
“No need to relax [the team]. I see that the team is on alert. Yes, we have certain problems. But I don’t want to talk about them. I know that every footballer who enters the field will give all his strength to achieve a result. We are not afraid of an opponent. We are calm and confident.”
-Murad Musayev; source: Sportbox via Google Translate
Krasnodar drew 1-1 at Rennes last week, which is certainly a credible result against the third-placed team in France. Chelseas own 0-0 against Sevilla was credible as well, but the importance of each result is magnified by the short length of the group stage. Three points here could be essential, for either team.