Chelsea FC: 3 Key Areas in Which to Improve Against FC Basel
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea may have suffered a disappointing loss against Everton over the weekend, but they will have to pick themselves up immediately to face FC Basel in a potentially tricky Champions League encounter this Wednesday.
Basel are an attractive side, but they are not as technically gifted as Everton were on Saturday, making them the perfect team to face after a minor setback. Although many are as good as writing Mourinho's eulogy after the defeat, it was exactly that—a minor setback.
Indeed, despite the result, there were many positives to take from this match. As Mourinho himself told BBC Sport, on another day it could have been 3-1 in his club's favour.
After all, the Blues had more possession and twice as many shots as the Merseyside club.
However, a loss it was, and that means that something must have gone wrong. Based on this match, then, here are three places in which Chelsea can improve in order to get the win against Basel on Wednesday.
For the majority of the game, Chelsea were quite sound defensively—as has come to be expected from a Jose Mourinho side.
However, they were guilty of the odd moment of complacency, and the Everton goal is the prime example.
Chelsea were attacking in full force as the first half came to a close, but a rare moment of pressing from Everton led to a winning goal for Steven Naismith.
If you watch the goal, you will notice that both Ashley Cole and David Luiz go missing, and even the usually reliable Petr Cech seems to have forgotten how to do his job.
In many matches, this wouldn't matter, but on a night when the Chelsea attack was struggling to convert chances, this one moment made all the difference.
Luiz is a good player and we have seen him defend with the best of them. However, the amount of times he was caught out of possession on Saturday harked back to his early days at Chelsea and resurrected the concerns that many had regarding his discipline.
Obviously, Mourinho had given him license to attack later in the game when goals were needed, but Chelsea cannot afford many more moments like the Naismith goal if they are to win trophies this season.
Against inferior opposition, it is tempting to allow some holes at the back as you push for a goal. In Saturday's match, Chelsea paid the price and they will have to rectify this in order to beat Basel.
It was only natural that Chelsea would be required to take necessary risks as they attempted to earn the win. However, as the match wore on, an increasing number of rash tackles were made in frustration, resulting in four yellow cards in a match when the opposition received none.
Yellow cards can be costly in Champions League football. Although it is likely to be a less physical game against Basel, Chelsea have to be careful that they do not let their frustrations get the better of them.
Creativity and Attacking Edge
According to ESPN FC, Chelsea had 22 attempts at Goodison park and only six on target. Whichever way you look at it, that is a poor percentage.
Chelsea also had more possession, with 56 percent, yet they were unable to convert their dominance into real chances.
Greater creativity was needed. Yes, there were a few chances that perhaps may have been goals on a different day, but as the match wore on, you got the sense that Chelsea were running out of ideas.
It never really felt as though they were going to win or even draw the match.
Samual Eto'o looked lively, but was unable to score that crucial breakthrough goal. Fernando Torres joined the fray, but even if he had been afforded enough time to make an impact, he didn't look sharp enough to do so.
At Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Mourinho will want to see much more creativity in the final third. Most importantly, he'll want to see crucial chances converted into game-winning goals.