After an even start to the match, the balance of power shifted strongly in favor of Chelsea barely after the quarter-hour mark, when the referee deemed Fikayo Tomori’s (twice) withdrawal on Mason Mount worth a foul – which it most likely was. Because he was in the penalty area, because Tomori was the last player, and because he made no attempt to actually play the ball, the referee had no choice but to give a direct red as well as award a penalty kick. They are the rules! (Ironically, if Mount hadn’t stayed up and played through the pull-outs, there would likely have been a lot less “argument” about all of this, but maybe that’s a debate for another day.)
Jorginho did not miss a penalty, and Chelsea pressed their visitors with a second goal soon after: Aubameyang scored for the third game in a row after a superb move orchestrated by Kovacic and Mount.
Chelsea kept the pressure high in the second half and came close a few times but couldn’t add to the lead. Did not matter.
The biggest thing to note in the second half was Reese James’ knee injury, as he appears to have affected it on relegation after a 50-50 challenge with Theo Hernandez. Eagerly waiting for the news there.
Four consecutive victories. Three clean sheets in a row.
With peace of mind.
- Two changes from last week, one imposed (Shaluba for Fofana’s injured) and one tactical (Jorginho Loftus-Cheek). Shalubah was not defeated as a rookie.
- A half-time change from Gallagher to Mount, who had been sent off in the first half.
- James and Sterling stopped around the clock, with Azbie and RLC in their place. Havertz on Auba in the last ten minutes.
- The first shot on goal by Milan in the 91st minute.
- Salzburg and Zagreb tied 1-1 in the other match, which means Chelsea suddenly top the group.
- Next: Aston Villa away on sunday
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