It was a game to forget for Chelsea, who dropped three points away to Basel in today’s Champions League tie. Basel have played particularly well against big clubs and are quickly garnering a reputation as giant killers, having already bested Manchester United, Bayern Munich, as well as the Blues.
From start to finish, Basel controlled much of the game, always attacking and testing Petr Cech before finally breaking the deadlock in the 87th minute through a Mohamed Salah goal.
This game exposed a lot of problems that have been plaguing Chelsea this season. For starters, the Blues’ attack was so nonexistent that it would be safe to assume that they were literally asleep on the field. The pace was sluggish for Chelsea, who often found themselves walking the ball up the field. Basel, on the other hand, looked dangerous and crisp in the way they moved up the pitch.
The worst part of attack had to be the first touch. It seemed that every time Chelsea made it into the final third, the player receiving the ball would either give it right back to Basel or try to force a pass to a teammate between multiple defenders. In other words, their vision was sorely lacking.
Let us not forget about defense. While they were able to save themselves quite a few times, much of it thanks to the always in-form Cech, Basel were able to constantly get into dangerous positions and tested the back line regularly. Chelsea have had defensive questions all season. Now with the back line seemingly set, they still got thoroughly worked over by a fairly tame team as they fell asleep on the pass that led to the winning goal.
Jose Mourinho will have to go back to the drawing board as he attempts to get the most out of his underachieving side. The Blues appeared to be back on track after a proper win over West Ham United over the weekend, but as usual, consistency is the hardest goal to reach.
Chelsea are still in first place with nine points and one more game left against Steaua Bucuresti, a team they beat 4-0 in the first leg. Chelsea definitely have the right pieces, but Mourinho has to get his players to play to their potential if they are to progress to the knockout rounds.
Something to note: Juan Mata traveled to Switzerland but was an unused substitute.