Chelsea lost more that the match against PSG
Chelsea’s players were accused of behaving like a group of “babies” by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and of failing to cope with the pressure by their manager Jose Mourinho following Wednesday’s Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain. PSG advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals at the expense of a feeble Chelsea despite Ibrahimovic being shown a straight red card after 31 minutes. The Swede was sent off for a challenge on Oscar which looked more clumsy than malicious as he attempted to pull out of the 50-50 tackle: if anything Oscar’s challenge looked more dangerous, but the Brazilian’s playacting led the referee to think otherwise. Ibrahimovic was furious with how Chelsea’s entire outfield team pressurised referee Bjorn Kuipers before his sending off: “When the red card happened the worst thing was the Chelsea players, I felt there were 11 babies around me,” said Ibrahimovic. Graeme Souness, the former Liverpool player turned TV pundit, also accused the Chelsea players of “pathetic” behaviour that went against the best British traditions of fair-play. Ibrahimovic had seemed to try to pull out of a tackle with Oscar but the Chelsea forward went down in apparent agony and then all nine remaining outfield players rushed towards the referee.
The bigger point, however, is that Chelsea should have been capable of controlling the tie once Ibrahimovic was removed from the game. Hazard scored a penalty, generously given after the ball had taken the slightest of flicks off Silva’s hand, and it had looked like Chelsea had done enough to move into the quarterfinals for the seventh time in nine years. To be honest, one could have thought the same after Gary Cahill opened the scoring in the 81st minute, but their opponents simply refused to give up. Where other teams might have wilted PSG did not. This was a fit team, as well as one playing with self-belief, and the defensive errors at the end, with John Terry losing Silva for the killer goal, suggested it was Chelsea rather than their opponents who were tiring. An absurd thought considering Chelsea played for more than an hour with the man advantage, and had even had a week off football whilst PSG played over the weekend. PSG though could even have won the match sooner, after 57 minutes, when Thiago Motta’s pass sent Cavani running clear; the Uruguayan went around Courtois, only for his shot to clip the inside of one post then flash past the other. The corner for Silva’s goal came after Courtois had saved another header from the same player. Again, it was from a cross into the penalty area, with plenty of defenders around.
It is rare to see Chelsea so susceptible defensively, yet they also lacked penetration in attack, despite Hazard’s menace, whereas when Blanc switched Cavani to a more central role after the red card, the forward excelled in place of Ibrahimovic and PSG always looked the more likely to score.
The best betting predictions would not have seen this one coming, but after the final whistle even Mourinho could not hide from the truth…PSG were the better team and Chelsea, deserved, to be beaten!