Chelsea 2 PSG 2: Seven things we learnt as the Blues crashed out of the Champions League

Jose Mourinho's team suffered rare embarrassment in a big game

Tom Sheen
Thursday 12 March 2015 11:33
Chelsea (above) and Arsenal (below) both fell at the last-16 stage
Chelsea (above) and Arsenal (below) both fell at the last-16 stage


Chelsea have always been a big game team. The Blues, under whichever manager, could be relied upon to produce a performance when it really mattered, to hold on against the very best England and Europe had to offer and to kill off teams when they needed to.

This season that has gone out of the window.

The warning signs were there as early as September, when Chelsea conceded an 85th minute Frank Lampard goal to draw 1-1 against Manchester City, who had played 25 minutes with 10 men.

Again at Old Trafford in October, Chelsea were leading until the final minutes before allowing Robin van Persie to sneak an equaliser which cost them two points. Under pressure at White Hart Lane on New Year's Day, Chelsea fell apart - after taking the lead - losing 5-3.

There was the Bradford City humiliation and another draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge where they had been in the lead. Chelsea took the lead against the run of play and were always second best to their title rivals.

Then there were the two Paris Saint-Germain games, where at no point were Chelsea ever really in full control, despite playing at home against 10-men for 90 minutes.

There have been a couple of decent victories - at Anfield, at home to Arsenal and in the League Cup final - but by and large Chelsea have been tentative on the biggest occasions and it has cost them.

With huge games still to come in the title race, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, Jose Mourinho needs to infuse a bolder mentality in his side.

Despite playing with 10 men for 90 minutes PSG were able to progress


"I think our training session on Saturday was harder than their game on Saturday."

Much like his "Special One" quote in his very first press conference, this sound bite could become synonymous with the management of Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea boss was clearly trying to instill confidence in his side, but it went a step too far and bred complacency.

The performance of his players has obviously come back to bite him. Roman Abramovich has always put European success as his top priority and Mourinho's failure in the Champions League cost him the first time round.

Jose Mourinho must win the Premier League

Chelsea absolutely have to win the Premier League now. Mourinho's long term future could rest on it.


It's an oft-heard jibe by away fans and Stamford Bridge and last night it was completely fair - Chelsea supporters did not help their team one bit. The Chelsea fans failed to create a hostile atmosphere, despite the presence of plastic flags, and failed to urge their team on when nerves set in.

The fans aren't completely to be blame, the club must take some responsibility for the systematic watering-down of the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Once upon a time it was one of the worst places to visit as an away fan and now its among the nicest in the Premier League.

Chelsea fans failed to inspire their team at Stamford Bridge

A return to those dark days isn't what's needed, but strict stewarding, the banning of popular songs and expensive ticket prices haven't helped at all.


The Belgian star showed some good touches and scored a penalty, but failed to truly deliver in a decisive manner for Chelsea.

If he wants to be considered alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi then he has to produce a landmark performances. Jose Mourinho's cautious tactics don't help, but he must produce more.

Eden Hazard scored a penalty but he needed to do more


Bought for £30million in the summer of 2013, the Brazilian winger arrived from Anzhi Makhachkala with a big reputation as a creative force and a brilliant dribbler.

Coming on at half-time last night against 10 men, one would expect the winger to find space and to exploit the ageing legs of PSG left-back Maxwell., He did neither of those things and, as it has been for most of his career in west London, failed to make an impact in the attacking third.

He is a hugely important member of the squad and performs a good job as an extra defender with his extremely high work rate and energy.

Willian has consistently failed to produce in the final third in his Chelsea career

But since joining the club he has just eight goals and eight assists in 76 games - Eden Hazard has 32 goals and 18 assists in the same period.

With £23m man Juan Cuadrado biding his time on the bench, time in the first team could be running out for Willian.


It showed in the Bradford City defeat that while Chelsea's strongest XI is better than any other in England, beyond those core players the level of the second-string declines sharply.

The Blues have played 44 matches in all competitions this season and seven of those players have started at least 30 of those, with John Terry and Eden Hazard both starting in 37.

Fabregas is now without an assist in nine games and is in need of a rest

Fighting on four fronts for most of the season, playing in high intensity matches week in and week out will take it's toll on players and the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are starting to look weary.

Where the team was full of zippy attacking intent at the start of the season, the forward play now looks laboured and predictable.

Chelsea started the season on a 21-match unbeaten run - 16 wins - that saw them score 52 goals, but in the 23 matches since they have scored 10 fewer goals and recorded just 12 wins.


Tying in with the above couple of points is that Jose Mourinho has had his hand forced a bit because of under-performing players. Willian has been discussed, but Oscar has had a hugely disappointing season and while he is impressive in parts, he has often flits in and out of games.

John Terry has been superb for most of the season but because Gary Cahill was faltered, Mourinho can't trust Cahill to partner Kurt Zouma and has to play the 34-year-old captain.

John Terry has been great this season but is playing too many games

Ramires scored as many as 12 goals a couple of seasons ago and while he has had a lesser role, he has missed crucial chances in games. Cesar Azpilicueta's form has fallen off a cliff but Filipe Luis has not been hugely impressive when he has played.

Chelsea play Southampton next but then face Hull, Stoke and QPR, Mourinho should rotate a couple of his players in those matches.

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