Chelsea gave an awesome demonstration of their potential to make an impact in Europe last night as they comprehensively defeated Paris St-Germain on their own turf. The paucity of the opposition needs to be taken into account, but this was an impressive performance by a side which is still learning about one another.
Chelsea embarked on their Champions' League campaign in Paris last night with a swaggering insouciance which even the French capital's famously haughty waiters would have envied.
Gifted the lead by Paris St-Germain when John Terry capitalised on a basic goalkeeping error midway through the first period, Chelsea took full advantage. Didier Drogba, thoroughly enjoying his return to France, gave them breathing space in first-half injury time, then scored a conclusive third with 15 minutes remaining.
"It was the perfect game," said a delighted Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea manager added: "We played top-class football. We controlled the game from the first to last minute. We used the ball superbly, we were incredible defensively and made the game look easy.
"I am pleased with the performance of every player. Instead of exchanging shirts with the opposition we should have thrown them to our supporters to remember a wonderful night."
The only flat notes for Chelsea were a needless booking for Frank Lampard, a nasty cut to Eidur Gudjohnsen's head, and the outside possibility of a sanction from Uefa for Drogba for his celebrations. The former Marseille player, having been jeered from the start, milked his goals, celebrating ostentatiously in front of the home fans before leaving the pitch blowing kisses to them.
While the paucity of the opposition needs to be taken into account, this was an impressive performance by a side which is still learning about one another. They are also still finding out about their manager, who will have surprised many when he dropped Ricardo Carvalho, whose last Champions' League tie had been for Porto in the final last May, in favour of William Gallas.
Another change was required when Gudjohnsen was injured in a clash of heads. The blood-soaked Icelandic striker was carried off and required eight stitches. While he was down Chelsea paused and almost paid the price as Charles-Edouard Coridon stepped away from Tiago Mendes and drove through the centre, side-stepping Terry before chipping wide.
That, though, proved a rare French sally as Chelsea took control. Pleasingly for English eyes, the most influential attacking player was Joe Cole, who won a free-kick from which Drogba drew a save from Lionel Letizi, then the corner from which Chelsea scored. Frank Lampard took it, Letizi failed to reach the ball, and behind him Terry, unmarked, headed in.
PSG briefly rallied, but after Peter Cech denied Modeste M'Bami and Bartholomew Ogbeche Chelsea killed them off. Tiago won the ball in midfield, enabling Cole to release Mateja Kezman. A poor touch enabled Letizi to save but Drogba followed up to score.
Chelsea eased off after the break, but Cech's safe handling and the poor finishing of Pauleta meant they went unpunished.
Lampard was cautioned for taking a free-kick without waiting for the referee's whistle. Drogba, offered a similar opportunity soon after, made no mistake. He waited until the wall had been pushed back, then bent a superb shot over it.
The match won, Damien Duff was given a run, with Chelsea switching to 4-1-4-1. He looked sharp, but by then Paris were such a rabble Roman Abramovich could have pulled on his boots and looked good.
Paris St-Germain (4-2-3-1): Letizi; Mendy, Hélder, Pierre-Fanfan, Armand; M'Bami, Cana; Ogbeche (Pancrate, 71), Coridon (Ljuboja, 65), Rothen (Bilayi Ateba, 83); Pauleta. Substitutes not used: Alonzo (gk), Cissé, Ibisevic, Badiane.
Chelsea (4-1-2-1-2): Cech; Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge; Makelele; Tiago, Lampard; Cole (Geremi, 69); Gudjohnsen (Kezman, 10), Drogba (Duff, 80). Substitutes not used: Pidgeley (gk), Ricardo Carvalho, Mutu, Parker.
Referee: M E Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)Reuse content