In what was a closely-fought encounter at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla, as Champions League football returned to the blue half of London. It was a quiet night, though, as Chelsea failed to score at home after witnessing 12 goals in three fixtures in the group stages of Europe's biggest club competition last season.
While Sevilla dominated possession, the Blues were left to pounce on loose balls by their counterparts - which they failed to convert. On the other hand, despite playing away from home, Sevilla were very aggressive not only in the final third but also in the wider areas of the pitch, as they took the game to the Premier League giants.
After blowing away a two-goal cushion to eventually share points in a 3-3 draw against Southampton in the weekend, Lampard's side made three changes to their squad. Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has come under immense scrutiny in recent months, was replaced by newcomer Edouard Mendy in goal. The attacking setup remained unchanged, with the other two changes being Reece James and Thiago Silva coming in for Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, respectively.
For Sevilla, it was a comprehensive change of personnel, especially on the left-hand side of their usual 4-3-3 formation. The entire left-flank unit of Marcos Acuna, Nemanja Gudelj and Lucas Ocampos were rested in their 1-0 loss to Granada on the weekend, but made their way into the squad for their Champions League encounter. Another change by Julen Lopetegui was the introduction of Luuk de Jong in place of Carlos Fernandez in the center-forward role.
Though the hosts kicked-off the first half, it was their Spanish visitors who maintained their composure and saw more of the ball in every area of the pitch. It was clearly a case of men against boys, as an experienced Sevilla side rattled a new-look Chelsea team in the opening exchanges of the game.
Argentine winger Lucas Ocampos constantly caused problems on the left-wing, as he combined well with full-back Acuna to create some meaningful action on the flank. But the experience of Thiago Silva and the might of Kurt Zouma was enough to keep any crosses away from putting their team in danger.
As it ended all square at half-time, Julen Lopetegui would have been the happier of the lot. Meanwhile, it seemed that Chelsea needed a huge morale boost as they were caught napping on multiple occasions during the first 45 minutes.
Lampard's pep-talk at half-time seemed to have worked its magic, as Chelsea came out of the tunnel looking like a totally revamped outfit. Having dominated possession in the Sevilla half, the Blues disrupted their opponents' setup for the first 15 minutes after the break.
However, they weren't clinical enough in the final third lack, due to which their spell of possession lasted just 15 minutes. Sevilla again took control of the game and despite being less fiery than the first half, the Europa League Champions were able to keep the home side quiet in addition to creating a lot of chances through the flanks.
The last ten minutes saw the introduction of many fresh legs from both sides. but the momentum dropped significantly in the closing stages of the game. The game ended 0-0 and Lopetegui's side were left to rue their missed chances, while Lampard can look to take encouragement from the fact that his side kept a clean sheet against Sevilla.
Here are the talking points from what was a captivating encounter at Stamford Bridge.
#5 Sevilla's use of high operating full-backs restricts Chelsea's wing-play
It has been an evident part of Lopetegui's tactics at Sevilla that the game flows through the team's full-backs, who operate as wing-backs for the majority of the 90 minutes. The same was on-show on Tuesday night, as Jesus Navas and Marcos Acuna gave the Chelsea players a tough time in the wider areas of the pitch.
Their plan also kept Chelsea full-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James restricted to their defensive duties for most parts of the game. The Chelsea full-backs are known for their overlapping runs and ability in the final third, but were kept quiet thanks to Sevilla's tactics.
The clever use of full-backs by Lopetegui also meant that their usual playing style of attacking using the flanks was totally nullified.
#4 A lesson in team chemistry for Chelsea by Sevilla
While Chelsea were playing at home, Sevilla looked like the home side for most parts of the game. The heavy spenders of the Premier League were left chasing the ball up until the 42nd minute, when they finally put together their first proper build-up play of the game.
All-in-all, it was evident that the lack of team chemistry left the star-studded team with misplaced passes and communication issues, while Los Palanganas played a fluid attacking game and moved the ball really well.
Lampard has constantly complained about the smaller pre-season this year due to COVID disrupting the footballing calendar. At a club like Chelsea, though, results are a must and time is limited, with the club hierarchy notorious for firing managers over the years.