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European Exit

By Gary Watton
March 15 2018

Chelsea actually played quite well, but they were given a dose of their own medicine. All too often in recent years, we have soaked up pressure and mugged opponents like Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenil with a few goals even though they dominated possession. This time around it was the Spanish league leaders who absorbed some considerable pressing from Chelsea, defended stoutly, keeping a clean sheet, and proving to be lethal when they ventured forward. It would be easy to blame Courtois for two or three of the goals, but he isn't the first goalkeeper to watch the ball slip through his outstretched legs. On another day maybe Tibo ought to have saved all three goals, but this doesn't disguise from the fact that the outgoing champions of England failed once more to score, when they clearly had to.

Regrettably for the away team, if Hazard and Willian don't score, then Chelsea don't score. Whereas in the past Lampard could have been relied upon for about fifteen or twenty goals in the season, we now have a midfield quartet of Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Fabregas, and Kante who can barely muster ten goals between them in the season. The team is desperately crying out for a goalscoring midfielder. We are not just missing a Lampard, but we clearly haven't found a new Ballack or Essien. Furthermore, in recent years everyone in the Chelsea team was weighing in with goals, be it David Luiz or Ashley Cole or Cahill or Malouda, but now there are few players in the team who seem able to score. Yes Rudiger hit the bar with a header and Alonso shaved the post with a peach of a free kick, but hitting the woodwork is not the same as hitting the back of the net.

Impotent, goal shy Chelsea will win few honours in future years, unless the club can address its growing goals famine. I'm afraid that this could be their last foray into the Champions League for quite some time. The club look in danger of merely competing with Arsenic and Evercrap for the scraps of fifth, sixth, and seventh in the pecking order of English football. Is this result and its commendable performance the end of a glorious era? I think so.  


Barcelona 3 CHELSEA 0; half time: 2-0

 CHELSEA: Courtois; Christensen; Rudiger; Azpilicueta; Kante; Alonso; Fabregas; Moses; Giroud; Willian; Hazard. Used substitutes: Morata; Zappacosta; Pedro


CHELSEA leading scorers:

Hazard fifteen

Willian thirteen

Morata twelve

Batshuayi ten

Alonso seven

Pedro five

Bakayoko three

Rudiger three

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