Chelsea were defeated in embarrassing fashion in the opening game of their Champions League campaign against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night.
The match started horribly for the Blues when Mislav Orsic handed the Croatian side the lead from a sharp counter-attack after early dominance for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Despite going behind, there was little reaction from Chelsea and if anything the hosts looked the more likely to get a second before half-time.
Chelsea continued their pursuit of an equaliser, but little came from their attempts.
The pace was slow and despite getting the ball into the box countless times, nothing clear cut was created until the closing moments.
Reece James had a strike cannon off the woodwork and moments later Mason Mount came very close to finding an equaliser.
It was too little to late for the Blues though as Dinamo completed a surprise victory against Tuchel’s side in the first matchday of the Champions League this season.
Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Tuesday’s defeat.
1) Be patient with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
It was not the debut the Gabonese striker would have hoped for. He was replaced by Armando Broja in the 58th minute and failed to capitalise on the chances he had. He looked to be playing with a lot of caution and little ruthlessness. It is important to remain patient though, he certainly showed flashes of what he is capable of and will need time to settle.
2) Extremely vulnerable on the counter-attack
With both James and Chilwell playing so highly up the pitch Chelsea are very susceptible to the counter-attack. This was shown at the weekend against West Ham as well as against Dinamo Zagreb. The Blues had early control of the game, but the hosts scored with their first attack. It is very worrying how easily Tuchel’s side are shipping goals this season.
3) Change of goalkeepers but no clean sheet
Kepa Arrizabalaga appeared in his first game of the season for Chelsea but he did not provide a solution to the west London side’s clean sheet problem. It is now six games in a row without a clean sheet for the Blues, their worst run since December 2021. Kepa is not to be blamed for the loss, it just suggests there is a bigger problem at the back which needs to be solved and quickly.Kepa Arrizabalaga appeared in his first game of the season for Chelsea but he did not provide a solution to the west London side’s clean sheet problem. It is now six games in a row without a clean sheet for the Blues, their worst run since December 2021. Kepa is not to be blamed for the loss, it just suggests there is a bigger problem at the back which needs to be solved and quickly.
4) Shots on goal need to be taken more often
Chelsea were largely dominant of the ball and managed to get themselves into some good positions. In the first half, they got into the box on multiple occasions but they looked scared to shoot. Aubameyang had chances early on but opted to pass instead and Raheem Sterling also tried to do too much when he had a good shooting opportunity. There were no shots on target in the opening 45 minutes which is just not good enough against this kind of opposition.
5) The players need to learn to keep their heads when losing
While it is understandable that the Chelsea players will be disappointed and frustrated with their performance, they have to learn to not let it get the better of them. Kicking up a fuss is not going to help get a result. Kalidou Koulibaly could have been sent off after two clumsy tackles and the same goes for the manager as well who received a yellow card. They can be angry but have to ensure they don’t let that slip out onto the pitch.