When Chelsea hosted Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, there was a small amount of hope that we could recreate the Champions League magic from 2012. Despite no longer obtaining the likes of Didier Drogba, the side’s younger prospects would have to put in their best performances against one of Europe’s most elite clubs.
However, the Blues looked outclassed against this ruthless Bayern side – and our upcoming trip to Munich will prove to be a very tricky fixture indeed. With Chelsea’s Champions League hopes this season appearing well and truly over, here are five things we learnt from that difficult night at Stamford Bridge.
Ross Barkley: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
One player that was having a particularly horrid time was Ross Barkley. The midfielder appeared lost on the pitch as he struggled to get into the right positioning and constantly lost the ball against our European opponents. The 26-year-old looked severely uncomfortable on the big stage which is disappointing considering his good performance against Spurs at the weekend. Frank Lampard might have fared better if he started Willian over Barkley from the start, moving us swiftly onto our next point…
No Willian in the Starting XI?
As soon as Willian was brought on in the final 30 minutes of the game, he brought extra pace and creativity we craved from the very beginning. Without a doubt, the Blues lacked pace throughout the entirety of this game – and Bayern were able to outrun us from across the field. Mason Mount also struggled on the wing as his pace and physicality didn’t match up well against this strong side, suggesting that the 21-year-old performs much better in the number 10 role in the centre of the field.
Reece James: Lack of Experience from the Youngster
Although Reece James has arguably been one of best performers this campaign, the 20-year-old appeared nervous on Tuesday night. The first leg against Bayern was one of his worst games in a Chelsea shirt and he was reluctant to go forward and make the most out of his attacking abilities. Often going up against Alphonso Davies, the left-back appeared to be on a completely different level, despite being one year younger than our academy graduate.
Lack of Clinical Finishing Dampens Hopes
It’s hard to solely criticise Olivier Giroud as the Frenchman didn’t have an awful game at the Bridge. The 33-year-old was fantastic in the air and won a set of aerial duels for his side, but his fellow teammates struggled to find him in good positions. However, when Tammy Abraham was brought on to replace him in the latter stages of the game, the youngster was highly ineffective and missed some crucial chances for the Blues. The 22-year-old received some good balls but was unable to net them home – and a great chance in the final 10 minutes was wasted after he took too many touches.
Defensive Struggles Still Apparent
One again, our defensive performance was also a huge part of this poor result. As previously mentioned, James appeared unambitious – but the other Chelsea defenders were also outclassed. Although Andreas Christensen had a fairly good first half, he was at fault for the final goal. Marocs Alonso’s lack of concentration also meant he was sent off in the final minutes. Simply, the Bundesliga champions were able to walk all over our backline, resulting in a severely disappointing Champions League result.