Chelsea travelled to the French capital to face PSG who boasted a 28 match unbeaten record at the Parc De Princes.
The starting eleven for the home side did not provide any shocks but the omission of Torres for the visitors meant that Shurrle was the most advanced Chelsea player.
The Blues were behind with just about the first action of the match. Maxwell’s hopeful cross was half cleared by Terry and expertly dispatched by Lavezzi on the half volley. It looked like Chelsea were once again going to be punished for a slow start but what followed was actually Chelsea’s best period of the match. As with previous occasions that Mourinho has started with the false nine, the creative midfielders alternated with Schurrle occasionally dropping leaving Hazard and Oscar leading the line.
There were suggestions that the inclusion of an extra midfielder was to stifle the creative threat posed by Verratti and Matuidi in the middle of the park. Chelsea’s response to conceding saw their strongest period of possession, pinning the hosts back and the extra man in the middle meant Chelsea could impose themselves. Whenever PSG looked to play short passes around their backline, the blues chased and forced errors.
Simultaneously, Chelsea were succeeding with probing balls and Oscar drew a clumsy challenge from the surprisingly susceptible Thiago Silva. Up stepped penalty expert Eden Hazard to roll in the equaliser and on the balance of play to that point, the scoreline was fair. Leading up to half time Chelsea began to look dominant. Willian found Hazard on the left who volleyed first time across Sirigu and rebounded off the post. With the half drawing to a close, Ibrahimovic beat Terry in the air from a searching cross field ball and Cahill went to ground with Cavani strongly appealing for a penalty.
Both Ramires and Willian picked up cards in the first half and this made an obvious impact to the second half as their reluctance to risk a second yellow meant the home side’s central midfield were far more effective. PSG’s percentage of possession increased and Chelsea were far less effective in the final third. On the hour, Lavezzi, who seems to like playing against Chelsea, whipped in a free kick that David Luiz was unlucky to divert into his own net. Up until that point, our enigmatic Brazilian was having a respectable game in defensive midfield. He, like the rest of the midfield, seemed to completely lose their shape from that point and, a handful of Chelsea set pieces aside, the rest of the match was all PSG. Matuidi’s near post cross found the pint sized Lavezzi in between Terry and Cahill and his header went past Cech but over the cross bar. It became increasingly apparent that a 2-1 defeat was the best result we were likely to achieve and the introduction of Torres for the ineffective Schurrle only enhanced the concerns of the visiting supporters. Cavani came so close and he dropped a shoulder and just missed the far post with an effort from the edge of the area.
The buoyed and energetic Parisian’s ensured that the introduction of Lampard into a rattled and dispersed Chelsea midfield meant that possession was further reduced – Aimless thirty yard balls towards Chelsea’s Spanish number nine achieved nothing, and the only surprise was that it took until stoppage time for French champions to get their potentially decisive third goal. Pastore, on for Lavezzi, managed to leave Azpilicueta seated, cut inside Lampard like he wasn’t there and tucked the ball under Cech at his near post. It was a goal that summed up Chelsea’s second half performance and sent the home fans into raptures.