Chelsea performed poorly despite winning away at Bate Borisov. Here are three takeaways from the evening.
1. One of Kante and Kovacic always needs to play
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley played together. While they are exciting talents, the Blues’ pressing of the ball suffered without the presence of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. These two excel in this crucial area. A poor Bate side were able to create chances with ease as a result of the poor pressing from the midfield.
From now on, one of Kante and Kovacic needs to be playing.
2. Emerson showed that our strikers can thrive
Ruud Gullit made a good point on Match of the Day last weekend. He said that Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud thrive on good crosses into the box. When the ball is centralised, they can struggle to find scoring opportunities.
The lack of service they receive is made worse by the fact that Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta do not really create overlaps and whip in quality delivery.
Emerson’s great cross for Giroud’s goal showed that Chelsea’s two strikers can find the net if they are fed well.
3. Morata is becoming important
Giroud may have scored but the Blues missed Alvaro Morata last night. Giroud is a static striker and painfully slow. He remains in the central areas and wants the ball into feet where he can play lay offs.
Morata offers many more dimensions. He can play in that central area just not quite as well as Giroud. But he can run in behind and stretch the defence as well as create his own chances with dribbles. He is turning into an important player.