In what turned out to be a wild, back-and-forth game, Chelsea drew 2-2 in an away match with Valencia in this evening’s early kick-off in the Champions League. The result leaves Group H largely in flux; both Chelsea and Valencia can still qualify for the knockout stages with the right results in their final match, but the Blues will probably be happier as Valencia will travel to Ajax in that fixture.
Chelsea flew out of the blocks in tonight’s game with swathes of attacks, but couldn’t find a breakthrough, and their defence always appeared to be vulnerable. Indeed, Valencia were able to strike first through Carlos Soler with minutes remaining in the first half – only for Mateo Kovacic to almost immediately equalise for the Blues.
Frank Lampard’s side then took the lead in the second half through a contentious goal from Christian Pulisic, but they never looked truly stable while they were in front and while it looked like their luck was in after Kepa Arrizabalaga saved a Daniel Parejo penalty, that turned out not to be the case when Daniel Wass’s cross floated over the Spanish keeper and into the net to level proceedings at 2-2 and set up a frantic ending.
Here are 3 reasons why Chelsea drew with Valencia.
#1 Valencia’s finishing was woeful
This was a strange game to rate from a Chelsea perspective; on one hand, their forward play was dynamic and they looked capable of scoring plenty of goals, but on the other hand, their defending left a lot to be desired.
Neither Jorginho nor N’Golo Kante played as an orthodox holding midfielder tonight, and with Frank Lampard selecting the largely untested partnership of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen in central defence, gaps appeared that Valencia really should’ve taken advantage of.
They were unable to, however, and that was largely down to their own profligacy. The first half, for example, saw a ludicrous miss for Albert Celades’ side, as a breakaway ended with the ball being fired across Chelsea’s goal, only for forward Maxi Gomez to miss his shot entirely with the goal gaping.
The second half saw two even worse misses, as Daniel Parejo missed a controversial penalty, and after a horrendous defensive mix-up from Christensen and keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Rodrigo somehow lofted the ball over the bar rather than into the empty net.
In the end, the goal that saved the Spanish side was an utter fluke; Kepa misjudged Daniel Wass’s cross and allowed it to float into the net – but to be fair, it was largely what Valencia deserved. This game could’ve ended 5-5, but Albert Celades’ men clearly had the better chances – and somehow managed to miss them.