Chelsea ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against PAOK in Group L of the Europa League as the Greek side were forced to play with ten men for 83 minutes.
The game started catastrophically for PAOK as they were reduced to ten men after just seven minutes. With Olivier Giroud bearing down on goal, PAOK's Yevhen
Key Talking Point
Following their 3-1 demolition at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea FC To Win UEL 2018/2019.— ♠️M-M♠️ (@mister_mykel) November 29, 2018
You Saw It Here First!
Shhhhhhhhh No Noise 狼
Sarri's side regained their calmness in possession and were rarely troubled defensively as they dominated the ball. Whilst there will certainly be tougher tests to face, a confidence boosting win was exactly what the doctor ordered for Chelsea and they will go into their game against Fulham with confidence.
Starting XI: Kepa (6), Zappacosta (5), Christensen (7), Cahill (6), Emerson (7), Barkley (7), Fabregas (8), Loftus-Cheek (8), Pedro (7), Giroud (9*r), Hudson-Odoi (8)
Substitutes: Alonso, Jorginho, Caballero, Kovacic, Willian (6), Morata
STAR MAN: Such was the easy nature of the game for Chelsea, there were plenty of candidates for the 'star man'. However, it was Giroud
Take a closer look at both of Giroud's goals, he took both of them one time without thinking twice. He has that striker's instinct and he'll always go for the shot before anything else. That's what I want from my striker.— Mod (@CFCMod_) November 29, 2018
With Alvaro Morata struggling for consistency, this was Giroud's chance to stake a claim for a starting spot in Sarri's side. The two-goal salvo will certainly have improved his chances and he will count himself unlucky if he doesn't start against Fulham on Sunday.
WORST PLAYER: With such a convincing scoreline, it can often be difficult to name a 'worst player'. However, Davide Zappacosta was that man for Chelsea today.
ZappaCosta's shot went for a throw in. — Anand Srivastha (@Jigarthanda) November 29, 2018
The Italian full-back was erratic in possession and tentative in his defending throughout. Where he ought to have crossed Zappacosta opted to shoot and when he did cross the ball often failed to beat the first man. The Italian will have to improve drastically if he is displace Cesar Azpilicueta from the starting 11.
Key Talking Point
With Chelsea coming into this game off the back of a woeful defensive performance, PAOK simply had to try and test the Blues defensively on Thursday night. This would have represented their best opportunity of getting a result at Stamford Bridge.
Red card for PAOK, awful defensive error— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) November 29, 2018
However, the Greek side offered virtually nothing in the attacking third and allowed Chelsea's defence to have a comfortable evening. The loss now leaves PAOK staring elimination in the face as they sit bottom of Group L on three points.
Starting XI: Paschalakis (5), Leo Matos (5), Khacheridi (2), Crespo (5), Vieirinha (6), da Silveira Junior (5), Wernbloom (5), Rodrigues Lima (5), Shakhov (5), El Kaddouri (5), Prijovic (4)
Substitutes: Rey, Varela (6), Pelekas (6), Pelekas, Bisewar, Akpom, Warda (6*), Canas.
STAR MAN: PAOK were never likely to land a punch on Chelsea following their seventh minute red card and this proved to be the case as the Blues cruised to victory. However, second half sub Amr Warda was a positive in what was an otherwise gloomy evening for PAOK.
That Amr Warda kid is pretty good... coming from a chelsea fan— Connor Baldwin (@NotThatConnorB) November 29, 2018
Warda was subbed on at the start of the second half and played with direct urgency. Whilst his efforts did not result in a goal for PAOK, Warda certainly provided a greater attacking impetus for the Greek side and can be proud of his performance.
WORST PLAYER: It's rare that a player who only played seven minutes in a match is labelled the 'worst player', but that's exactly what
Next up for Chelsea in the Europa League is Vidi away from home. However, with 15 points on the board and top spot guaranteed it will provide Sarri with another opportunity to rest key players.
PAOK, meanwhile, will play BATE at home in what is a must-win game for the Greek side if they are to progress to the next round of the Europa League.