Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Calamity kings Chelsea have no defence after PSG horror

Javier Pastore, left, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal in the convincing first leg victory

Oh, the pain in Paris. Chelsea will be hurting right now and the truth is they only have themselves to blame.

A week ago, despite their manager's protestations, there was hope at Stamford Bridge that the Blues could land a Premier League and Champions League double. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, Chelsea supporters think anything is possible.

It seems there will be more chance of Mourinho inviting Arsene Wenger round for dinner now!

Chelsea lost top spot in England after a defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday and last night they lost control of their Champions League quarter-final with Paris St Germain, going down 3-1 in the first leg.

Chelsea's defence is one of the best in the business. Normally you would find it harder to go through a brick wall than Mourinho's back five.

At crucial moments in the Parc des Princes, though, they crumbled.

PSG's early opener gave us a sign of things to come when skipper John Terry, scorer of an own goal at Selhurst Park at the weekend, headed a poor clearance straight to the excellent Ezequiel Lavezzi who didn't need a second invitation to smash the ball into the net from inside the box.

Calamity number one.

The visitors did level before the break through Eden Hazard's cool penalty and up until the hour mark were managing the match nicely.

Then came more awful defending. A needless free-kick was given away and while Lavezzi's delivery was dangerous it was the sort of set-piece Chelsea deal with it better than most, but with goalkeeper Petr Cech failing to claim the ball it hit David Luiz and ended up in the net.

Calamity number two.

Calamity number three was the worst of the lot. Mourinho labelled it 'ridiculous'. Throw in pitiful, pathetic and potentially fatal for Chelsea's chances of making it to the last four of the competition.

In injury time with the Blues thinking a 2-1 defeat could be turned around next week, PSG substitute Javier Pastore was allowed to waltz past Cesar Azpilicueta and Frank Lampard before firing a low shot past Cech at the near post.

Talk about a goal that should have been avoided.

Mourinho teams just don't concede like that. He was furious and had every right.

Losing 3-1 in this manner was a shocker for Chelsea and on a night when Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not for the first time, failed to live up to all his pre-match hype.

Perhaps the Chelsea boss deserves credit for that.

Much like he did with his former striker Didier Drogba, ahead of the last 16 clash against Galatasary, he killed his ex-Inter Milan front man Ibrahimovic with kindness.

Result: Zlatan was as ineffective as Didier and was taken off in the second half with an injury that could rule him out of the return leg.

PSG didn't need the brilliance of Ibrahimovic last night and they won't need him next week either if Chelsea's defending is as woeful as it was in Paris.

When the Blues won the Champions League in 2012 under Roberto Di Matteo (remember him?) en route they came from 3-1 down to Napoli, so they won't be giving up yet. PSG, however, will be a tougher nut to crack.

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