Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watched his side from the stands for the first time in a long while as Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 victory at the Krasnodar Stadium, Russia, on Wednesday evening.
Coming off the back of a goalless draw away to Manchester United in the weekend, Chelsea traveled to Russia to take on Krasnodar in their second Champions League fixture of the season. The Blues, who were held to a draw when they hosted the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla at the Bridge, came into this one in need of a result as they hoped to take hold of the first position in Group E.
Despite a toothless first-half performance, Frank Lampard’s side eased to a 4-0 victory with Callum Hudson Odoi, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and substitute Christian Pulisic all getting on the score sheet.
The Blues could have opened the scoring earlier after Timo Werner was fouled in the penalty box. However, Jorginho’s spot-kick unluckily bounced off the frame of the post, before the ball was hacked to safety by the Krasnodar defenders.
Chelsea now goes top of Group E but level on points with Sevilla, who secured a 1-0 victory against Stade Rennes.
While Chelsea put on an outstanding performance, especially in the second half, we look at four key points drawn from the victory in Russia.
Mendy brings Confidence at the back
Another game, another clean sheet for Chelsea’s new shot-stopper, Edouard Mendy. The Senegalese international has been sensational since making his debut for the Blues in the EFL Cup.
Conceding just one goal in five games, he has so far been a huge upgrade on Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arizzabalaga. Alongside a new look back-line, Chelsea has been brewing with confidence in the defense. The Premier League club are currently on a four-game clean sheet run in all competitions and perhaps they have found their Petr Cech replacement.
The 28-year-old is undoubtedly one major highlight of Chelsea’s transfer dealings.
Two attacking 8’s means more goals
After Frank Lampard made a triple substitution in the 71st-minute, Chelsea’s dynamics changed and their attacking threat skyrocketed. While Pulisic replaced Callum Hudson Odoi on the flank, Ngolo Kante and Mason Mount came on for Kovacic and Jorginho, respectively.
This allowed both Havertz and Mount to play as two attacking 8’s while Kante provided the defensive covering in midfield. This set up worked magic as the Blues would put in three more goals in a little under 19 minutes.
Hakim Ziyech would be a huge success
Yesterday, Hakim Ziyech put in a show of class for the Chelsea faithful. After recovering from a pre-season injury picked up in a friendly against Brighton, fans could not wait to see their new winger return to full action.
In his first competitive Chelsea start, the Moroccan international dazzled from the right flank and was a major attacking threat in the first half, constantly putting the Krasnodar defenders to the sword.
His sensational outing continued in the second half and he would ultimately cap it all up with a calmly struck finish in the 79th-minute to open his Chelsea account. He was given a breather in the 81st-minute, as he made way for Tammy Abraham.
Timo Werner on penalty duties
This season, Timo Werner has drawn a mouth-watering five penalties for Chelsea in all competitions. Against Krasnodar, Jorginho stepped up to take a penalty from a resulting foul on Timo Werner in the 14th-minute. However, just like against Liverpool, the Italian failed to convert the spot-kick, putting to waste the striker’s effort.
Midway through the second half, Chelsea were gifted a second penalty after Aleksandr Martynovich handled the ball in the penalty area. With Jorginho substituted, Timo Werner stood over the ball and drilled his effort into the back of the net.
Despite statistically besting Timo Werner’s 82.35% penalty success rate, Jorginho’s 88.46% clearly isn’t a huge upgrade. It would be only fitting for Werner to be made the first-choice penalty taker.