Our Champions League aspirations were dented by a vibrant Paris Saint-Germain. The millions invested into the Parisian club by their Qatari owners paid off as Laurent Blanc’s men established themselves as a European force.
Hazard performs on the big stages
The ability to influence big games is what differentiates a world-class player from one of the very good sort. World stars, the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo, have been accused of disappearing in matches of high significance, but Eden Hazard showed he is unfazed by the big games.
The Belgian has vastly developed under the shrewd coaching of Jose Mourinho, performance and maturity-wise. He ran PSG right-back Christophe Jallet ragged, bewildering the Frenchman with his rapid pace and adept trickery. He also held up the ball well and called upon his ice-cool composure to net the penalty under intense pressure from the Parc des Princes faithful.
Schurrle is not a number 9
If any confirmation of our need for a striker was ever required, then it was duly provided on Wednesday evening. While PSG paraded prudent investments in the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani, our striker shortage was horribly exposed.
After Fernando Torres’s woeful display at Crystal Palace, Andre Schurrle, as he did at Old Trafford in August, led the line unsuccessfully. He struggled to influence proceedings and was replaced after 58 minutes. The German has proven his eye for goal, with his seven league goals arriving from wide positions.
However, his emphasis was on prevention rather than creation. Before he departed, we had controlled the encounter, particularly after Hazard’s penalty. Torres had barely been on the pitch for two minutes before David Luiz bundled the ball into his own net.
We need a centre-forward, urgently.
The importance of Matic
Nemanja Matic provides us with reliable solidity, while David Luiz is indisputably far more unpredictable than the Serb. While Luiz hassled Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi into squandering possession, the Brazilian was uncertain in central midfield, his high-octane play not well suited to a Champions League quarter-final.
Matic’s composure has served him well on his return to England, a contrast to Luiz. In the place of bundling Matuidi over, and then the ball into his own net, Matic would have simply ushered the French midfielder down the line, the danger stifled.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Luiz, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Schurrle.
Subs: Schwarzer, Kalas, Ake, Mikel, Lampard, Ba, Torres.
PSG: Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, T Silva, Maxwell, Motta, Verratti, Matuidi, Lavezzi, Cavani, Ibrahimovic.
Subs: Douchez, Marquinhos, Digne, Cabaye, Rabiot, Pastore, Lucas Moura.