What a start it has been for the blues this season! 8 wins and 1 draw in Premier League and 6 consecutive victories in all competition up until today. It was a great match up between two teams in great form and as expected, it was an outstanding football game in Donbass Arena, the heart of Shakhtar Donetsk. Yes. It was demoralizing to concede a goal in opening third and another goal from sloppy mistake but Chelsea overall played a good 90 minute of football.
Blues started their season with signing new talents, Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Victory Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta while letting go of Club’s legendary Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and Jose Boswingwa. It was rather drastic change for them considering the fact that they had historic Champions league trophy the previous season. Regardless, the results were imminent and everyone was happy. Although there has been some worrisome concerns between fans and media about how they will perform against top European clubs, Roberto Di Matteo and his players seemed to be doing fine against Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Today’s defeat is disappointing yet not so upsetting. Roberto Di Matteo came up with a defensive line up, by replacing Eden Hazard with Frank Lampard from his usual starting XI. Though conceding an early goal and Lampard’s injury led to an early substitution of Hazard, it was a right idea to play defensively against S.Donestsk in their own backyard.
Shakhtar was sharp and decisive. The home team punished blues whenever they had a chance. While Chelsea took initiatives of the ball, their finishing touches were not sharp enough. The creative trio, hazard, Oscar and Mata could not unlock the home team’s defense as they did against spurs last Saturday. Fernando Torres could not possess the ball and two center backs were often careless. This game reminded of the game against Athletico Madrid in UEFA Super Cup when Chelsea was subjugated by Athletico’s wild counter attack and sharp finishes.
It was a prognostic defeat, which comes with a price to be paid. Chelsea is now the 2nd in the group table in risk of being relegated to Europa League. I wonder what would have happened if RDM played Victor Moses instead of Lampard. The Ukrainian side were efficient by playing with high line of defense which could have been subject to Moses’ pace and dribble. Also, Luiz seemed to be tired after long hours of travel and weekend games. Cahill could have been the better solution.
However, Chelsea showed a good spirit, scoring a goal in 88th minute and tireless attacking during 2nd half. Mikel and Ramires showed some quality midfielder movements and passes and A.Cole and Ivanovic were reliable as usual. Considering the fact that this is new, young and revitalized Chelsea, I am hopeful to see better outcome in the future- a better team match after match & season after season.