For a few minutes, all the problems Chelsea suddenly began having were gone. Oscar scored two goals in the space of two minutes to put his side 2-0 up over Juventus, promising a dream start to their champions league campaign. Problem is, Chelsea weren’t playing Wigan or Reading, but the Italian champions, who showed, once again, the many flaws in Roberto Di Matteo’s side.
It usually all begins with the midfield, which was a pretty straightforward 3 on 3, with Oscar covering Pirlo rather well during the first half. The problems begin with John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard, the weak links in this midfield unit, as they both have hardly any effect on the attack anymore, which isn’t new when regarding Mikel and is somewhat of a surprise when it concerns Lampard, but age has it’s influence, and aside from the penalty kicks, Lampard just don’t have what it takes against these kind of opponents.
Against three centre backs, Fernando Torres was having one of those days, managing only one shot at goal and constantly looking for free space somewhere. The Chelsea formation wasn’t an effective one, especially with the full backs not really trying to use the space given to them. The goals came because of one lucky bounce (the first one) and because of one wonder shot from Oscar, which began with a Pirlo turnover. Juventus were winning the tactical battles for the next 60 minutes.
The moment Mirko Vucinic got going, the team looked much better. It created a lot of space for a mobile Giovinco to roam, although he was a bit overwhelmed by the Chelsea defenders. It did allow Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio to make more forward pushes, and Vidal’s first goal.
The second half was pretty much all Juventus, except for a few minutes in the early goings. Asamoah was a lot more involved off the left wing, handling Ramires and later Hazard with no problem what so ever. Chelsea rely on a few talented players to make or break everything for them, but on some night, Eden Hazard won’t be as effective or the refs won’t be buying his falls in the box, which are getting a bit irritating.
Teams with quality and bit of tactical flexibility will give Chelsea a lot of problems, because Roberto Di Matteo, despite all the money spent, is a bit limited in what he has, especially when it comes to the midfield. Sure, his front trio is exceptionally talented, but you can’t thrive on offensive talent alone. Maybe using Oscar in the middle instead of Lampard, while giving Mata and Hazard the dual position behind Torres, will work much better.
Roberto Di Matteo spoke about feeling disappointed – at losing the two goal lead and by not doing enough to close out the match when they could. That’s true, but in no way Chelsea need to believe this was their game. Juventus were just as good and dangerous as they were, just less fortunate early on. Eventually, luck will run out.