Chelsea 1-0 Roma: Five Conclusions

1) Roma would have been absolutely delighted to have taken a point from Chelsea. It’s a little disappointing, I saw this as a big banana skin for Chelsea, and I believe that if they had come with any desire to attack at all, not only would they have caused Chelsea problems, we might have been treated to a much better game.

2) However, they did reinforce the good old football stereotype that Italian teams know how to defend when they want to. It was getting to the point where it looked like nothing was going to get through them, which would have been almost as unfair as if Rangers had won the UEFA Cup last season.

3) The main reason Chelsea did get the breakthrough was John Terry’s constant terrorising of Phillipe Mexes from every attacking set-piece. The Frenchman simply couldn’t handle JT’s aggression and persistence, and you can tell that at the moment Terry burst forth on his goal scoring run, Mexes was busy psyching himself up for the upcoming tussle. He may even have been relieved…

4) Francesco Totti, no matter what the Roma fans think of him, is surely past it by now. Occasional flashes of his technical ability were glimpsed, but for the most part he was there to try and play the referee, because he provided little to no outlet for the Roma defence at all.

5) Chelsea’s persistence was impressive to me. They didn’t let themselves get frustrated and didn’t resort to lumping balls into the box (bar the corner that brought the goal of course…) and even the usually sulky Anelka kept working hard for the team. I think this is the true signs of progress under Scolari, as under Mourinho or Grant they would surely have become more and more desperate and abandoned the passing football that was their best chance of unlocking the Italian defence.

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