We suffered our 2nd consecutive defeat after the International breaks as FC Basel came out as shock winners in the Champions League opener just days after the Blues lost 1-0 away at Everton. Manager Jose Mourinho made some high risk choices as he started Van Ginkel alongside Lampard in midfield and Willian started in his debut against The Swiss side in the Champions League.
It was two days ago, when Jose gave a press conference before this tie and promised that he would start 4 under-22 players in the UCL opener and described the squad of young players he has as ‘Beautiful young eggs that need a mum, in this case a dad’. While it was true what he said about the potential of the players and their talent, the players he described as that let him down in yesterday’s group stage opener all but, Oscar. The Brazilian continued to shine and showed just why he is favored to Juan Mata in the No. 10 role as our player of the year proved also why Mourinho didn’t start him after coming on in 2nd half. Let’s analyze more things we learned from this embarrassing defeat which is Jose’s first AT STAMFORD BRIDGE WITH CHELSEA…
1. Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 isn’t working as Jose would hope.
Jose Mourinho continued the implementation of this formation after previous managers, Roberto DiMatteo and Rafael Benitez used the system as well. The Special One’s favored formation at Chelsea was a strong, counterattacking 4-3-3 with a great transition from defense to attack with fluid movement upfront with the likes of Duff and Robben in his 1st reign. Now, the owner Abramovic wants to see attractive football at Chelsea. But, Jose would have to convince Roman and the players that this possession oriented football is not always a winning tactic even though it’s pleasing on the eye. Much tactical orientations can be done with this squad as 3-5-2 illustrated here might be a possibility.
2. Oscar’s more than worthy to start in that number 10 role.
Even though I hugely admire Juan Mata’s technical prowess on the ball, I am now totally behind the fact that Oscar is much suited to the role in Jose’s formation. The Brazilian started the game and was a fundamental part of the possession as the Blues managed to keep possession for much of 2nd with 62% of the ball. And right before the end of the 1st half, Oscar received a beautiful assist from Lampard to put the ball into the back of the net by delightful turn. He worked relentlessly hard in fighting back to win possession from Basel midfielders and that’s what we miss when Mata plays. But, Oscar is fulfilling his duties to the maximum level and there is no way the Spaniard is going to get his preferred role back if his form continues.
3. Juan Mata’s fitness and play coming into question.
The two time double player of the year started on the bench yet again as Oscar was preferred in his role as he came onto the match by replacing Willian. Then, Mata was not fulfilling his obligations or defensive work as he was spotted in the midfield a lot of the time against Basel. In the build-up to the equalizer we conceded, he played a major part by losing possession and not trying to win back the ball by charging back despite being fresh after being introduced right around the hour mark. The Spaniard’s unlucky, poor form is continuing and he has not in a good position for a start in the upcoming games if he doesn’t step up his fitness and adapt to the type of player Jose wants him to be.
4. Star players not responding so well to Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho has expected a lot more from players like Eden Hazard and David Luiz who certainly are special players and the Special had said he won’t make life easy for top players. In this case against Basel, Eden Hazard completely failed to deliver his expectations for a match that we should have easily won but, Luiz played good by almost setting up Chelsea’s goal as his build-up from the back was influential for Chelsea’s attack. But, if both players including others like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard played like the way they played against Bayern in the super cup, it’s a game we should have easily won. Star players should step up and deliver in tough moments if they are supposed to be considered one of the best in the world in football. Eden Hazard has to be consistent in showing his true quality and potential like he did against Bayern every single game.
5. Mourinho’s gamble backfired.
It sounded more like a genius idea when The special one claimed he would start FOUR players under the age of 22 in a major Champions League opener at home while benching the likes of Mikel and Mata in doing so. In the press-conference one day ahead of this game, he labeled his young stars, ‘beautiful young eggs that need a mum, in this case a dad’. A phrase that is perfect to describe the potential and future of our star players but, taking a huge risk by playing the likes of Van Ginkel and Willian, giving them their debut start for the club in a UCL opener was definitely not a good idea. The Portuguese has learnt his lesson surely and won’t make such gambles in big games by trusting this players. Their experience in such games should come in a form of substitute ans not in a start.
More things we learned:
6. Branislav Ivanovic is giving his heart out on the pitch through every single match and is a true born warrior!
7. Set piece defending between Cahill and Eto’o need to be solved out and improvements needed in player communication.
8. Frank Lampard did not get involved more times on the ball despite the assist as proven by stats against Basel.
Here are the FIVE top lessons we came to learn after the disappointing defeat in a Champions League which is the first time we lost an opener since more than a decade ago. Make sure to let us know through comments what you thing and if there is more things to add. Follow me on twitter (@FahmiCFC) and KTBFFH!