Reigning champions of England, Chelsea made the trip to the Parc de Princes on Tuesday night to face off against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their round of 16 match clash in the Champions League. The two sides wanted to claim the advantage prior to the second leg at Stamford Bridge and started the game positively. Though there were no goals in the opening half an hour or so, the game saw some good chances created by either side. It was the Ligue 1 champs who managed to go ahead in the 39th minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s free kick was deflected by midfielder John Obi Mikel into his own net. Despite that, the Nigerian international managed to leave his mark on the game for his side, as he equalized for the Londoners towards the end of the first half.
The game resumed at 1-1 after the break with both sides looking to win the match. Chelsea had got a crucial away goal before the break and would have wanted to take the advantage of the next leg. The hosts did not let that happen, as Edison Cavani gave them the lead when he put one past keeper Thibaut Courtois from a really tight angle in the 78th minute. There were no more goals in the game and it will be interesting to see what happens in the second leg.
Here are five talking points from the game:
5. The Chelsea attack still lacks consistency:
In a game where the Blues were expected to put in a top performance, many of the players did not really live up to expectations. Hiddink would have wanted his attacking players to score goals in the game, though the only goal in the game for his side came from an unlikely scorer, as Mikel put one in from a corner. Diego Costa had some good chances to score and he failed to convert them once again. Surely not a happy sight for the manager, who will expect more from his forwards in the second leg.
4. Hazard’s exit looking eminent:
It was once again a really poor day in the office for the Belgian international, who could soon be set to leave west London. There have been speculations of a possible offer being made by quite a few clubs for the superstar winger, including the champions of France. It remains to be seen whether Hazard leaves the club that made him a star last season and moves away or not, with the Premier League outfit looking to cash in on him as well, after his below-par performances this season.
3. Skipper John Terry was missed:
No doubt that skipper John Terry’s absence made a huge difference to the Chelsea side, who did not look at their very best at the back. There is no doubt that the former England international would not only add some solidity to the defensive line, but also make a valuable threat in set-pieces. The energy in the team looked missing at times and Terry would have surely made a huge difference to the side, if he was playing.
2. Rahman finally looked good at the back:
Abdul Baba Rahman, who was given the duty to keep Angel di Maria quiet in the match did a good job dealing with the threat provided by the Argentine international. The left-back looked far more composed in the game than he has looked previously in any of his appearances, since completing his move to west London from Augsburg in the summer transfer window.
1. No more Champions League football next season:
The only way that Chelsea would be making it back to the Champions League next term was by winning it this season after the hopes of a top four finish were long lost. If the players and the fans were hoping that their team would do the impossible after the horrific start to the season, they were in for a disappointment yet again. Europe’s top cup competition once again proved that the English clubs need to up their game if they wish to succeed against teams from other countries across the continent.