Chelsea Lose to FC Basel, Still Qualify for Knockout Stage of Champions League

By Greg Sulik
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Another disappointing Champions League performance from Chelsea today, losing 1-0 to FC Basel in a game that the Blues frankly deserved to lose. The Swiss side outplayed Chelsea from the opening kick, showing more creativity and energy in the attack. FC Basel had 52% of possession and fired 15 shots, with 7 of them on target. Chelsea managed just two shots and neither was on target.

Mohamed Salah scored a well deserved goal in the 87th minute, and he was a nightmare for the Chelsea back four the entire day. Up front, Oscar struggled to get into the flow of the game and control the action, and neither Samuel Eto’o or Fernando Torres posed any serious threat up front. The lack of shots is a concerning trend for Chelsea, and they must consider adding a striker in the January transfer window.

Despite the poor performance, Chelsea has clinched a spot in the round of 16, and they can still win the group in two weeks against Steaua Bucuresti. However, Chelsea will not last long in the knockout stages if they continue to play this poorly, and it is essential that they improve their offensive performance. Juan Mata’s absence was again noticeable for a team lacking creativity and spark, and perhaps Jose Mourinho will be prompted to give the Spaniard another chance over the course of Chelsea’s next three Premier League matches, all of which are winnable.

This performance will only intensify the criticism of the club for loaning Romelu Lukaku, who scored twice for Everton in the Merseryside Derby this weekend. It will also bring about another round of speculation regarding Radamel Falcao, long rumored to be a transfer target for Mourinho and Chelsea.

Whether Chelsea seeks to add players or simply tries a new lineup, the point remains that this team has struggled on the attack far too often this season. If this trend doesn’t change soon, Chelsea will soon be eliminated from the Champions League, and that means that Roman Abramovich will be making changes.

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