It was quite a difficult game for both sides as Chelsea travelled to Paris to face PSG in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie. Many would argue that PSG were clearly the better side of two and that they deserved to win by a bigger margin.

 

“It was a very difficult game. We needed to try to play our game and we tried to score the away goal,” Chelsea captain for the night, Branislav Ivanovic was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

The away goal, however, was the one positive that Chelsea can take back from this match as they go back to the daily grind of English football.

The one thing that the Blues clearly need to look at is the fact that they were unable to play with the same conviction and style that led them to a 5-1 win over Newcastle last week. While they had 55% ball possession against Newcastle, Chelsea only managed to keep 35% at the Parc des Princes.

Fabregas ineffective

The midfield was obviously a key issue for them against PSG. Despite having had a horrendous season so far, Nemanja Matic has been showing a lot of improvement in recent matches under the keen eyes of Guus Hiddink. However, his suspension seemed to have limited Chelsea’s options in the middle of the pitch.

While an in-form John Obi Mikel replaced Matic in the starting eleven, an early booking for the Nigerian international meant that Cesc Fabregas had to play a more defensive role against the French champions. This prevented him from progressing too far up the pitch, from where he could have exerted better control over the game.

[Image Credits: Whoscored.com]

Chelsea fans will be looking forward to Matic’s return as he would provide them with more options in midfield. Getting Fabregas to settle on the ball and act as the playmaker-in-chief would be key to Chelsea’s chances in the return fixture.

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Defence needs to build chemistry

Paris Saint-Germain vs Chelsea FC

PSG striker Edinson Cavani beat the Chelsea offside trap with ease on Wednesday night to score the winning goal of the match. While the Blues’ defence has not exactly been solid this season, they have started to play well in the last month or so under Guus Hiddink’s stewardship.

“We were a little bit open. Top strikers like PSG have, they take every single chance. We have to be more compact and more careful. These small details can decide a game,” admitted Ivanovic after the match.

Due to the absence of John Terry, the back four that Hiddink had to name against PSG was hastily put together, with Cesar Azpilicueta shifting to right-back, Ivanovic at centre-back, and the young Baba Rahman playing in the left full-back position. Another advantage that the Blues will possibly have in the second leg is that this back four would have played a few more games together ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

With some amount of team chemistry between themselves, the Chelsea back four may be better equipped to deal with the creativity and incisiveness of the PSG midfield and attack.

Chelsea must, of course, take a different approach against PSG in the return fixture, and it would be interesting to see what Hiddink comes up with to surprise PSG manager Laurent Blanc.

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