Chelsea dominated against PAOK but only won 1-o. Here are the major takeaways from the first Europa League game of the season.
Emerson’s future looks bleak
This match would have been ideal for the 24-year old to try to impress Maurizio Sarri. Marcos Alonso might also have benefited from a rest before Sunday’s London derby at West Ham.
However, the left-back did not even make the squad for the game. What is more, Emerson himself confirmed on Twitter that he does not have an injury or illness that would have forced him to miss the game.
It can only be that lack of form or lack of fitness is responsible for Emerson’s omission. Whatever the reason, the chances of him replacing Alonso look slim.
Christensen and Rudiger should be the defensive partnership
Granted, the challenge presented by PAOK did nothing to really stretch Christensen. However, on his first appearance this season, he was completely faultless defensively and his distribution with the ball was in no way inferior to that of David Luiz. The reasons for Christensen’s omission are thin.
As for Rudiger, it is difficult to think of a better centre-half who is currently playing today. Sergio Ramos is ageing, as are Thiago Silva, Vincent Kompany and Gerard Pique. Virgil Van Dijk has a claim ,as does Raphael Varane, but Rudiger is ahead of them.
It was a mistake to leave out Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi
Of all the takeaways, this should be the most important. Although the margin of victory was only a single goal, the scoreline did not reflect the extent of Chelsea’s complete dominance.
Of course, it was a potentially difficult away game in a hostile atmosphere but there is no reason that both youngsters should not have been on the bench at the very least.
Once it was clear that PAOK could not really threaten Chelsea, both players could have come on and played valuable minutes.