Chelsea’s comeback to Champions League football finished in a disappointing manner after a 1-0 loss against Valencia at Stamford Bridge. The home defeat coupled with the manner of the loss will be hard to take for a Chelsea team who have been picking up some impressive results in the Premier League of late.
Frank Lampard has already been in charge of some big matches and one might expect that this experience would have been put to good use in a crucial Champions League group game. Valencia were always going to be a tough opponent, but the manner of the defeat has left many Chelsea fans in shock.
It was always going to be a tough campaign for Lampard. Even with the blue army behind him, the blues legend was going to struggle with a squad that was lacking in world-class players. The lack of experience is an obvious problem. However, one might expect the club to be performing quite good when it comes to home games. It is now three games without a victory at Stamford Bridge for the Chelsea legend, who made it a habit of scoring penalties to pull the team through difficult circumstances. Yet, his inability to decide on a penalty-taker along with continued problems at the back are starting to come to the fore.
All the good work done by the wins over Norwich and Wolves may be wiped out in the space of two games, as the blues are preparing to face Liverpool this weekend. It will be a huge game for the team and it is easy to expect a nervous Stamford Bridge based on the recent displays.
It was a frustrating night for Chelsea, who were second best in most departments. Tammy Abraham may have been on an incredible scoring streak of late, but he came up against a strong opponent. The 21-year-old struggled to have a meaningful impact and it was reminiscent of his struggles against Manchester United and Liverpool at the start of the season. Even though he came up with seven goals in his previous three games, the quality of the opposition certainly put him in check. The quality of the balls delivered into the box was also not up to the mark.
Thankfully, there were a few positives to come out of the game. Fikayo Tomori is one of the several Chelsea youngsters who have been able to get a lot of plaudits for his performances in recent times. He once again came in with the measured and comfortable display at the back. Even though a player of his experience had to be caught out on a few occasions, the 21-year-old was able to recover substantially.
The challenge for Lampard will be to reinvigorate the team ahead of the big match against Liverpool on Sunday. The blues may also be without Mason Mount, who appears to have picked up a serious ankle injury. This will be a tough period for the blues considering that Mount has been one of the crucial players for the team in these early few weeks.