André Schürrle needs some extra shooting practice
Things are just not quite going the German’s way in front of goal at the moment and it does not help that his aim appears to be somewhat askew.
Last week he rattled off 12 shots at Bolton’s goal without any success in a Capital One Cup tie and his frustration continued from the start here in Lisbon last night.
Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho picks the German to provide an attacking threat from midfield and he certainly did that on numerous occasions.
The 23-year-old should have put the game out of sight in the first half, but either shot straight at the keeper or wide. Some shooting drills are required.
Sporting Lisbon 0 Chelsea 1 player ratings
Sporting Lisbon 0 Chelsea 1 player ratings
1/10 Thibault Courtois
Didn’t have much to do but exuded calm and authority throughout. 5
2/10 Branislav Ivanovic
Typically rugged performance from the full back, full of well-timed tackles and interceptions. 6
3/10 John Terry
Controlled the defence, and never looked like getting turned. 6
4/10 Gary Cahill
Cahill Did well against Slimani and composed throughout. 6
5/10 Filipe Luis
Had no major problems against the Sporting forwards but might have done better with late chance that he dragged wide. 6
6/10 Cesc Fabregas
Controlled possession immaculately with his short and long-range passing. Set up Matic’s goal with accurate free-kick to clock up his seventh assist of the season. 7
7/10 Nemanja Matic
The game’s stand out performer – such an imposing presence with his strong tackling and powerful dribbling. His first-half goal was a just reward for another impressive display. 8
8/10 Andre Schurrle
Missed hatful of chances and taken off after an hour as frustration threatened to boil over. 5
9/10 Eden Hazard
Not as incisive as usual, but still looked a threat in the first half. Faded in the second, and substituted in the dying stages. 6
Will be disappointed not to have taken second-half opportunity, but tracked back impressively when required. Taken off after 70 minutes. 6
What’s all the fuss about William Carvalho again?
Every transfer window, Carvalho’s name gets linked to a multimillion pound move to a Premier League club. Yet the summer came and went and the shirt of Sporting remains on his back.
Arsenal are still on the lookout for a defensive midfielder and this was an ideal opportunity to see what he could do against strong English opposition.
Carvalho’s physique makes him look the part but, as Chelsea scythed through the home side time and time again, he was nowhere to be seen.
Supposedly he has a price tag of £35m on his shoulders. At £21m, Chelsea already have a far more accomplished performer for the role in Nemanja Matic.
No danger of Nani being missed at Old Trafford
Of all the players on show in Portugal’s capital, no one had more to prove than the Manchester United reject Nani.
United’s new manager, Louis van Gaal, brought his seven-year spell at Old Trafford to an end last month when he sent him back to his former club on loan.
There were some nice early touches by the 27-year-old as he lined up on Lisbon’s left flank and ran at Schürrle and Branislav Ivanovic.
Nani’s trickery became a bit predictable, though, as he always favoured cutting inside and Chelsea soon negated his threat. United are certainly better off with Angel Di Maria.
Terry is 100 not out and shows no sign of declaring
The Chelsea captain John Terry reached the significant milestone of making a century of appearances in the Champions League and it continues to bring out the best in him.
Terry has had many tougher evenings in Europe’s premier club competition than this one over the years, but his leadership was as crucial as ever.
On the few occasions Sporting did launch an offensive, they usually found the former England captain in their way.
Gary Cahill always looks far more assured with the elder statesman next to him and whenever the team needed a few stern words, Terry provided it.
Did the gamble of playing Costa pay off?
Mourinho must have feared the worst when Mauricio chopped his star striker down in full flow in the second half.
Such was the brutality of the foul it brought back memories of Cameroon at their worst in Italia ’90 and for a brief moment, Costa looked in agony.
Yet this man is as tough as he looks. The 25-year-old soon got to his feet and it was Mauricio, perhaps not helped by also colliding with a team-mate in making the challenge, who was carried off.
Costa has had better games and should have scored early on, but his hamstrings looked in fine enough fettle to take on Arsenal on Sunday.
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