For the second consecutive match, Chelsea have found themselves unable cash in on their chances. Chelsea’s inability to put the ball in the net has become the topic of discussion again, after the club lost at home to FC Basel 1-2 in Champions League action this week. The defeat came as the first Champions League group stage loss at Stamford Bridge in ten years.
Although the Swiss champions Basel are far from pushovers, Chelsea would certainly have expected to walk away from the home match with at least a point. However, while Jose Mourinho’s squad was in control of possession for the majority of the match, they could not find a quality finish in the final third. New signing Willian made his debut for the club, in what can be described as nothing less than a frustrating night in London.
Chelsea did manage to open up the scoring on the day, but the offensive effort came from midfield. After some nice build-up play, Frank Lampard slid a perfectly weighted pass in to the young Brazilian, Oscar, who placed the ball low in the corner with a powerful, but controlled one-time shot. The goal would come right before the half and Chelsea went into the break looking confident. The second half began with another dominant spell of Chelsea possession. However, Samuel Eto’o, who started the game as the lone striker, was unable to make his mark on the game. Mourinho brought on Demba Ba to add to the attacking force, as the club looked to push forward and seal a victory.
It was Basel, however, who would make the first strike of the second half. Mohamed Salah put his side back level with a curling shot passed Peter Cech. As Chelsea fought to regain their lead, they gave up a corner off of a Basel counter-attack in the 80′ minute. The Swiss side would go on to punish Chelsea with a powerful near post header from Marco Streller. Basel were able to hold off Chelsea for the remainder of the half, sealing a victory and winning a vital three points early in the group stages. The Chelsea players left the field at Stamford Bridge to the faint ringing sound of boos, an atmosphere eerily reminiscent to those of last season’s home games.
Jose Mourinho was quick to take the blame for the loss, claiming that his players are “young eggs” who work hard in training and on match days. The match follows Chelsea’s weekend loss to Everton, a match which left the club sitting with their worst Premier League start in a decade. After a rough start to the clubs 2013/14 campaign, fans will be looking for answers.
The most obvious target is Chelsea’s striking core. The trio of Torres, Eto’o and Ba have only accounted for one of Chelsea’s seven goals this season. While Mourinho has made it clear that he is happy with the strikers he has for this season, fans will be frustrated with the lack of goal production up front. The manager made sure to drive the point that progressing through to the next stages is still possible and that his club will need to focus and work hard to make up for the lost points.
“We lost three points that we must get somewhere,” said Mourinho. ”We must get them, in Basel, or Schalke, or Bucharest, or all of them or some of them.” He went on to explain, “but the objective of finishing in the top two in the group phase and to go to the next stage of the Champions League is an objective that is not lost – far from it. It’s an objective we’re going to fight for and it’s an objective that I believe very, very much that we’re going to achieve.”