Braces From Hazard And Dzeko Ended The Match All Square At The Bridge: 5 Talking Points Of The Match Between Chelsea And Roma In The Champions League
Chelsea and Roma shared the points after a six-goal Champions League thriller at Stamford Bridge.
Goals from David Luiz and Eden Hazard fired the Blues into a 2-0 lead, but Aleksandar Kolarov halved the deficit before half-time.
Edin Dzeko then struck twice to edge Roma ahead after the break, before Hazard’s deft header levelled the scores to earn Chelsea a draw.
Below are six talking points from the game.
1. More problems for passive Chelsea :
Even when Chelsea went 2-0 up through Hazard in the 37th minute, it was difficult to argue that they had played well. Antonio Conte’s side did look sharp when they transitioned into attack in the opening stages, but they became far too passive and invited Roma onto them as the half wore on. Given the quality in the visitors’ ranks, it was no surprise to see them draw level and then pull ahead in the second period.
The intensity and discipline which characterised Chelsea’s performances last term is conspicuous by its absence at present. Conte has work to do to get his team back on track, even if they do remain in an excellent position in their Champions League group after two wins and a draw.
2. Roma resilience rewarded in comeback draw:
Roma may have been low on confidence pre-game following Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Napoli, a feeling which would only have been exacerbated when Chelsea went 2-0 ahead here. Yet the Giallorossi deserve great credit for remaining patient and playing their way back into the match, with goals from former Manchester City men Kolarov and Dzeko earning them a point.
The Serie A side were a little wasteful in front of goal in the first half, with Radja Nainggolan and Diego Perotti both guilty of firing shots too close to Thibaut Courtois. There was little wrong with their approach play, though, and they were eventually rewarded for their constant probing. Dzeko’s first goal was spectacular, but the equaliser was the least Roma deserved.
3. Chelsea struggle to contain visitors in wide areas :
After sinking back into a 5-3-2 formation after Luiz’s opener, Chelsea were regularly outmanoeuvred in wide areas. Roma full-backs Bruno Peres and Kolarov were invited forward and rarely engaged by Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta, who often found themselves caught in two-versus-one situations as Chelsea’s central midfielders tried in vain to shuffle over in time.
Many of Roma’s chances stemmed from overloads out wide. Perotti curled a shot straight at Courtois in the first half after cutting infield, while Kolarov’s strike came from a burst inside on the left flank. Peres’ movement allowed Gerson to chop inside and blaze over shortly after the restart, before Kolarov’s low driven cross was taken off Dzeko’s toe by a slight touch from Courtois. Roma’s third goal, meanwhile, came from a free-kick won by Perotti after taking on Tiemoue Bakayoko down the outside.
Antonio Conte, recognising the problem, shifted to a 5-4-1 formation and instructed his wing-backs to push higher where possible, but it did not entirely solve the issue; indeed, Dzeko spurned a brilliant opportunity to head home a winner after Peres was afforded far too much space out on the right late on.
4.Premier League Old Boys Show They Can Still Do A Job :
Aleksandr Kolarov was released by Manchester City this summer after seven years of service in the north-west with a sense that he had lost a yard of pace and perhaps could not quite fit into Pep Guardiola’s system.
But his performance at Stamford Bridge was a reminder of his best, pinning Davide Zappacosta in his own half and providing Roma’s front men some wonderful service with his cultured left foot as well as getting their opening goal.
Following Benjamin Mendy’s injury and the dalliance with Danilo and Fabian Delph at left-back, you have to wonder if some City fans would still like to see the Serbian in their squad.
Were it not for the sumptuous talents of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up top, then they would certainly be missing Edin Dzeko, who continued his wonderful run of form with an even better volley (assist provided by Spurs reject Federico Fazio) and a headed goal shortly afterwards.
5.Hazard And Morata Show Deeper Understanding :
The partnership between Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata, which looked so effective against Atletico Madrid last month, was in action once again on Wednesday night, with a gap of more than 20 yards rarely being seen between them.
The pair, often left isolated from Chelsea’s deep-sitting midfield, were a constant menace every time possession switched hands and were solely responsible for the second goal of the night, linking up nicely after Hazard nicked possession.
With Diego Costa’s exit and Michy Batshuayi’s struggling confidence, despite that winner in Madrid, Chelsea will hope this relationship continues to blossom as the season progresses.