Chelsea have it all to do after uncharacteristically giving away early and late goals against the French pretenders. There is no doubt that Jose Mourinho would have settled for the 2:1 scorline at the end of regular time. unfortunately the football gods had other plans.
It was always going to be a difficult tie considering the run of form that PSG are on. This victory made it 9 straight home wins. The Blues only solace is that we have now lost 3 of 4 games and statistically are due a couple of results.
Jose decided to play Schurrle up front, finally losing patience with the Fernando Torres turnaround story. I actually thought the team sheet looked like our best 11 considering Matic is cup-tied and Eto’o is injured. The pundits felt it was a defensive line up but Schurrle’s inclusion was less a defensive move and more that Mourinho figured that better a makeshift centre forward than a Trojan donkey. When Nando did eventually come on in the shop window on 58 minutes, he performed his usual trick of dribbling into a brick wall.
The Blues were under the cosh early as the home side scored after only 3 minutes. Jose’s calm appearance hiding the pain of a worst possible start. Lavezzi finished superbly at close range after JT’s semi-clearance fell kindly to him in the 6 yard box. Cech had no chance as the Argentine struck the half volley into the roof of the net in perfect execution.
Chelsea did very well to calm the storm in a cauldron of garlic breath. Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Lavezzi formed a potentially devastating front line and the game could have been over in minutes if the Blues didn’t manage to take some control.
Halfway through the first half, Chelsea had regained control of the game and looked the likelier to score. David Luis in particular was dictating the play winning almost every 50:50 ball.
On 27 minutes Chelsea got their reward. A stone cold penalty award as Thiago Silva upended Oscar in the box. No complaints from PSG. Hazard stepped up and sent their keeper the wrong way. The Blues were back in the game with a vital away goal.
Chelsea saw out the rest of the first half , the happier team at the break.
The French Champions certainly responded to Lauren Blankety Blanc’s half time tête-à-tête. The Chelsea back line were suddenly being tested to the full. Terry, Ivanovich and Azpilicueta all had good games, although it was Gary Cahill who shone the brightest. He is really developing into a world-class centre back and is a dead cert for England’s first team this summer.
On 63 minutes The French team were back in front. David Luis “made” and scored the goal. He committed his usual cardinal sin of gifting an unnecessary free kick in a dangerous area. He followed that up with an own goal from the ensuing cross. In fairness to our Brazilian defender the ball would have gone in unaided if left to its own devices. The perfect free kick had the Chelsea defence in a pickle and Petr Cech in no man’s land. Suddenly the 50,000 strong Parisian mob had found its voice.
Chelsea really didn’t come close to creating a chance to level the score. Torres was doing his Marcel Marceau impression of a striker and it was quickly apparent that the most we could hope for was taking a 2;1 score back to the bridge.
The game quietened down in the last 15 minutes as Chelsea did a good job a keeping possession when they had it. Lampard being a settling influence. PSG contributed by not throwing caution to the wind.
Anyone wearing a Blue scarf would have been happy for the final whistle.
Unfortunately the locals had one more trick up their sleeve. Javier Pastore, another Argentine import, with a moment of individual brilliance scored with almost the last kick of the game. He seemingly glided past half the Chelsea team, ending up in the 6 yard box. He then manged to squeeze the ball inside the near post beating Cech all ends up. Maybe our much love keeper could have done better but one cannot deny this was all about Pastore’s brilliance.
So only a few days to wait for the return game. Certainly a usually resilient Stoke side provides the perfect chance to test our ability in front of goal this weekend. Let us hope that Jose gives Demba Ba a run out in preparation for inclusion next Tuesday.
Hopefully Athletico Madrid have been watching old black and white movies of Fernando Torres and he manages to get a loan deal at the end of the season. For his own sanity if nothing else.