Chelsea confirmed their place at the top table of European football with as comprehensive a 2-0 win as you will ever see in SW6. The pre match hype was the return of the prodigal son, Didier Drogba, but in truth it was probably his worst display on the hallowed turf of Stamford Bridge.
It was important for Chelsea to start well and they didn’t disappoint. The mercurial Eden Hazard turned smartly to release Oscar who in turn fed Samuel Eto’o and the Cameroonian netted to put the home side 1-0 up with barely five minutes played. The Turkish champions looked forlorn and their pre match plans went up in smoke. Chelsea could now play the type of football that this team is designed for. Long gone are the heady days of possessive dominance and power, of which DD was a major component, Chelsea are now full of pace, transitional excellence and defensive organisation all built around the wonderful, incredible talents of Eden hazard.
Chelsea were dominant all over the pitch with every player winning their individual battles. Jose Mourinho said in his press conference that this match would not be over at half time. Wrong, this match was dead in the water by half time. In the closing minutes of the first period John Terry met a Frank Lampard corner with a powerful header which was parried by the Galatasaray keeper only to see Gary Cahill smash home from close range. Thank you and good night.
Roberto Mancini started the match with a similar diamond formation to the one which stifled Chelsea in the second half of the away leg. This time his tactics were wrong. Chelsea won the midfield battle with the tireless Ramires supported by the fresh legs of Lampard. Mourinho cleverly played Hazard and Willian wide to stretch the away side’s diamond and Oscar supported Eto’o through the middle. This resulted in former Arsenal man Eboue pushing forward to support his midfield and this only exasperated Mancini’s problems as they could not cope with the movement and trickery of Hazard who occupied the space behind the fullback. Galatasaray tried to play the long diagonal to Drogba but Azpilicueta remained cautious and in control.
An emotional return for the legend that is Didier Drogba, however the big man was isolated and ineffectual.
Chelsea move on and will surely be hoping for a favourable draw against the winners of the Olympiakos and Man United tie. Next up is Arsenal on Saturday where only 3 points will suffice.