It was three points and a clean sheet as Chelsea thrashed Russian side Krasnodar 4-0 in matchday two of the Champions League.
Second half goals from Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic added to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s opener giving us an emphatic win.
The victory ends a run of three consecutive draws, but also means a third clean sheet in a row, which is a first for Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager.
Although we faced a depleted Krasnodar team, we got off to a slow start and struggled to create any chances. Sloppiness on the ball in midfield allowed the home side to create some good opportunities, however Édouard Mendy stepped up to deny them.
Jorginho was offered the chance to break the deadlock from the penalty spot after just 14 minutes following a clumsy foul on Timo Werner by defender Kaio.
For the second time this season, Jorginho failed to convert his penalty, this time hitting the post. Despite an unorthodox technique, he has also scored three, so talk of a change in penalty taker is surely a bit premature.
The game continued to be played at a slow pace, with both teams struggling to create anything to test either keeper. Frank Lampard was on the touchline urging his players to play ‘faster’ but they weren’t really clicking, even with a star-studded attack on display.
Finally in the 37th minute there was a breakthrough, albeit with a bit of luck. However it was exactly what the move deserved, with some brilliant link up play between Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi resulting in a first Champions League goal for the English youngster. He benefitted from some poor goalkeeping but it will give his confidence a welcome boost, having found minutes hard to come by lately.
Half-time proved to make little difference for Chelsea who started the second half in a very similar pattern to the first, struggling to retain possession and create chances. It was actually Krasnodar on the front foot, forcing us back and posing enough of a threat to cause somewhat of a concern for Lampard and his staff.
Eventually a change had to be made, Lampard opting to throw three men on in a change of shape. Pulisic, Kante and Mount were all brought on at the expense of Jorginho, Kovacic and Hudson-Odoi, which meant a shift to the 433 formation.
The substitutions had an immediate effect, with Pulisic winning a penalty just five minutes after coming on. A strike from the American was deemed to have hit the arm of Aleksandr Martynovich and with Jorginho off the pitch, Timo Werner was given the opportunity to open his account for Chelsea in European football.
Hit hard and true, there was no saving this one as Werner doubled Chelsea’s lead. Another goal shortly followed, this time Hakim Ziyech the scorer on his first start for the club. The Moroccan, who excels in this competition, showed some excellent footwork before finding the far corner of the net. It capped the perfect evening for the playmaker as Lampard gave him and Ben Chilwell a well earned rest with the game all but over.
Christian Pulisic scored his first of the campaign as he added a fourth in the last few minutes, beating the goalkeeper at the near post following some good work from Ziyech’s replacement Tammy Abraham, who held off the defender well and managed to pick out Pulisic.
Overall it was a very successful evening for Frank Lampard’s men in Russia who were playing under the watchful eye of a certain Roman Abramovich for the first time since the Europa League final in 2019. He will be pleased with yet another clean sheet and the quality the forwards showed in the attacking areas, especially in the final 15 minutes.
We will be looking to carry this form onto Saturday, where we face a stern test in Burnley, before returning to this competition again to face Rennes at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.
Man of the Match – Hakim Ziyech
On his first start for the club following his return from injury, Hakim Ziyech certainly didn’t disappoint. In what was an underwhelming first half display from the team as a whole, Ziyech was a constant bright spark in the attack, always looking to create chances for his teammates. As expected his passing was superb, and his first goal capped a perfect full debut. Already a superstar in this competition, it is very hard not to get excited about him as he starts to build up his fitness and find his feet in a blue shirt.