Chelsea were able to pick up the perfect result in their first away game in the Champions League this campaign, gaining a 4-0 victory against Krasnodar. Callum Hudson-Odoi was the first player to get on the scoresheet, before Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic also found the back of the net – resulting in a convincing win for the visitors. However the goalscorers weren’t the only ones to make an impression on Wednesday, and there are some issues that still need addressing.
Hakim Ziyech’s Perfect First Start for the Blues
Chelsea supporters were thrilled to see Hakim Ziyech start his first game for the Blues, with the winger included in the starting XI for the Champions League clash. The 27-year-old didn’t disappoint, showcasing his creative abilities and proving a nightmare for Krasnodar’s defence. He was arguably the best player on the pitch – and his goal in the 79th minute was deserving of his brilliant performance. The Moroccan was a constant threat inside the box, and produced some excellent chances for his new team.
Cesar Azpilicueta: A Superb Performance by the Captain
Although Ziyech will no doubt receive most of the attention after Wednesday’s game, we must also give credit to Cesar Azpilicueta. The captain was superb going forwards, with the defender linking up nicely with the other key performer that night as Chelsea looked particularly dangerous down the right side of the pitch. The 31-year-old also put in some superb crosses into the box and despite being one of the oldest players on the field that night, he was constantly running up and down to support his side both offensively and defensively. Yet another game where the captain delivered when called upon.
Midfield Concerns Continue
However, despite a set of positives on Wednesday, we mustn’t ignore the problems that appear to keep cropping up in midfield. Lampard started with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in midfield, with the former having a particularly worrying game in Russia. Not only did the 28-year-old miss the first penalty for the Blues, but he also failed to work well with Kovacic, with the two leaving acres of space in the middle of the park as Krasnodar were able to attack.
Another Clean Sheet?!
On the other hand, a more promising aspect of the game was of course, Chelsea’s clean sheet. Edouard Mendy started yet again for the Blues, picking up his third consecutive clean sheet. With Thiago Silva not travelling to Russia, it was somewhat concerning to see both Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger starting in central defence, with both centre-backs looking unconvincing at the start of the game. However, Mendy stopped some good chances on the night, preventing Chelsea from going behind in the opening stages.
A Slow Start by the Visitors
Despite Chelsea ending the game on a high, it’s concerning to see how long it took for the Blues to get into the game. As previously mentioned, the hosts had some good chances at the start, featuring a shot by Tonny Vilhena. Even when the West London outfit were 1-0 up, it looked like Krasnodar were going to claw one back. Thankfully for us, Chelsea finally found their way.