Paris Saint-Germain defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the first leg of the round-16 tie of the Champions League last night. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scored for the Ligue 1 side whereas John Obi Mikel scored for the visitors.
The Blues remain very much in competition, thanks to the away goal from Mikel. The tie remains delicately poised ahead of the second leg on Stamford Bridge at 9 March.
Here are the five talking points from the game from Chelsea’s perspective:
Chelsea’s makeshift centre-back pairing performed admirably
Prior to the game, Chelsea’s main concern was the absence of their preferred centre-back pairing of John Terry and Kurt Zouma due to injuries.
The make-shift partnership of Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill performed admirably and contained the attacking threats of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani, Lucas Moura and Angel Di Maria to an extent.
Baba Rahman rose to the occasion
The 21-year old hasn’t received many opportunities to display his talent since his move to the club in summer.
The game against PSG was the most important game of his short Chelsea career. He rose to the demand of the occasion and proved that he has a future at Stamford Bridge.
Eden Hazard again failed to impress
The Belgian once again failed to impress. Following his comments about a possible move to PSG, his performance last night didn’t do him many favours. He is slowly but surely losing the support of Chelsea fans.
He also looked short on match fitness and was substituted by manager Guus Hiddink in the 71st minute of the game.
Courtois was once again Chelsea’s saviour
Thibaut Courtois once again proved vital to Chelsea. His decision making for Edison Cavani’s goal was surely questionable, but he more than made up for it by producing a number of spectacular saves.
His saves on Lucas Moura’s attempt and Angel di Maria’s free-kick were top-notch.
Chelsea played counter-attacking football and did well to maintain their position in the tie
Chelsea let PSG had the majority of possession and played counter attacking football.
The Blues, led by Willian, were effective in their counter-attacking play and came away with an away goal.
The tie is delicately poised, and the Blues will feel confident going into the second round of the tie at Stamford Bridge on 9 March.