An unbeaten group stage!
Chelsea welcomed Krasnodar to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night for the final Champions League group stage game of this season. Krasnodar had already sealed a spot in the Europa League while Chelsea had already topped the group and so there wasn’t much at stake. Lampard selected a rotated lineup with Kepa starting in goal, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger and Emerson making up the defence. Jorginho, Kovacic, and Gilmour made up the midfield while Anjorin, Tammy, and Havertz started up front. 10 starters got rests which given the games that are about to come is crucial.
It was an open game with Krasnodar taking the game to Chelsea and Chelsea were also creating chances. The likes of Havertz, Gilmour, and Anjorin were lively on the pitch while Tammy got into some good positions. Cabella gave Krasnodar the lead in the 24th minute after some good passes for the away side and he was able to finish past Kepa. Tammy was then tripped in the box and Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 28th minute which Jorginho converted. From then on Chelsea had several chances to get 3 points with Tammy going close a few times while Havertz missed one chance as well. Krasnodar stayed strong though and kept themselves in the game to get a point.
Chelsea Team Review
Kepa wasn’t able to keep a clean sheet and I felt it was harsh given the fact that the goal wasn’t really his fault. It was good play by Krasnodar and a solid finish through the legs of Christensen to get it past Kepa. Other than that there weren’t any other issues for the Spaniard.
The defence was decent and got better as the game went on. Rudiger continues to look like a player wanting to impress while Christensen was also quite good. Azpi’s work rate is unrivalled but Emerson has now put in a run of performances that have made him quite a good back up option.
Jorginho and Kovacic did what they do best but the start of the game was Billy Gilmour who’s impact was telling from minute 1. The Scot was moving around the pitch linking up play doing skills, setting off shots making tackles and really dominating the game. It’s great to see and he will for sure get minutes over the next few games.
Anjorin was the liveliest of the 3 with the youngster clearly wanting to impress and suffering no nerves. There was plenty of good passes and he got into decent positions which could have led to a goal. Havertz was decent as well as he looked to gain fitness and the German could have had a goal and couple of assists of his own. Tammy didn’t have the best of games simply due to the fact he didn’t score. With Giroud making an impact this was a game in which Tammy could have got a couple to stake his claim but Giroud should stay ahead for now.
Lampard probably wanted to win given the fact he brought on Giroud, Werner and Kante in the 2nd half but Krasnodar held on. The game caps off a positive group stage for him and an improvement over last season as we top the group and remain unbeaten.
With the group stage sealed we now wait until February for the knockout stage to begin. Chelsea will now shift their focus to the Premier League as we look to maintain our momentum at the top. Next up a trip to Everton. COME ON CHELSEA!!!