Chelsea are still very much in their Champions League tie with PSG. While they find themselves behind by a goal, they simply need a 1-0 victory at home in order to go through to the quarterfinals.
The most defining part of the first leg were Chelsea’s injuries. Chelsea recently lost Kurt Zouma and John Terry, both first choice centre backs this season.
The Blues responded by moving some players around, deploying Ivanovic at centre back, partnering Gary Cahill at the heart of the Chelsea defense. Azpilicueta moved to his more natural right-back position and Baba Rahman was called upon to play at left-back.
The results must be considered mixed, given the nature of the way the West Londoners conceded. Cavani was allowed to score unmarked, which is unacceptable. That being said, it was far more positive overall, than what most people would have expected.
What Chelsea didn’t do, was capitalize on their offensive chances. Playing with Baba Rahman at left-back gave the Blues more width going forward. They were far more effective in possession when they we’re afforded the chance.
The Blues were always going to have to absorb pressure. However, they also had far more opportunities than most people would have expected. Hiddink’s men needed to take a few more of them.
Kevin Trapp was the major reason the Blues didn’t score more goals in the first leg. He thwarted Diego Costa on several occasions.
Chelsea seemed to break through PSG’s defense rather easily on occasion. However, they failed to finish off enough of their chances, which could prove costly for the tie.
Eden Hazard just wasn’t decisive enough. Perhaps his comments about PSG depict where his thoughts are at, because they’re not focused enough on the matches at hand. The Belgian has failed to score for the Blues (minus the FA Cup) during this campaign. He hasn’t scored in open play at all.
While Willian and Fabregas helped to create chances, it’s on the Blues attacking players to finish them off. In the return leg at Stamford Bridge, they’ll have to be more lethal if they expect to go through.
PSG will look to limit the Blues odds of scoring. Their defense will be set up to prevent chances, Trapp will surely be ready, and they won’t take risks at the back. Chelsea must score at home and the more goals they score, the better the chance they’ll have at going through.
It seems simple, but while the Blues must make sure not to concede at home, they have to take their chances as well. Chelsea’s attacking four must be at their best, asking questions of PSG’s weak defense and striking when offered the chance.
There won’t be many chances, but when they appear, they must be finished. Players like Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian must be at their best if Chelsea are to go through to the quarterfinals.