Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea: Five things learned as Blues humbled in Champions League opener

3 mins read

Aubameyang fails to solve issue

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was brought in for one thing and one thing only: to score goals. Raheem Sterling the same. So when the pair showed a reluctance to have an attempt on goal in the first half, Tuchel must have been at his wit’s end trying to figure out why.

The Blues had struggled to break down a sturdy Dinamo Zagreb backline with space at a premium in front of the box. And when they had an opportunity to test the goalkeeper, the Blues didn’t take it. Aubameyang, in particular, looked well off the pace.

At present, Chelsea’s issue is leaking goals but there is a clear example of how their missed chances or lack of opportunities on goal have contributed to a nervousness at the back. It cost them against Tottenham, who barely had a sniff and still salvaged a 2-2 draw. It might take Tuchel a training session of allowing his players to bombard Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga before they get their confidence back after another poor attacking show in Croatia.

Defensive concerns after £165m spend

On his Champions League debut, Wesley Fofana could have hardly asked for an easier task on paper against Dinamo Zagreb. But the young Frenchman learned how you can be punished if your concentration lapses even for a moment.

Just 13 minutes into the opening tie, Chelsea found themselves behind from a routine counter-attack. Mislav Orsic was determined to latch onto the knockdown from Bruno Petkovic and raced clear of Fofana, who surprisingly didn’t have the pace to catch the Croatian as he finished neatly beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga.

It may take the £70m signing some time to adjust — the trouble is, he doesn’t have it, and nor does Kalidou Koulibaly. Thomas Tuchel has spent a huge amount on recruiting a new-look defence and they need to start gelling together, or face leaking more avoidable goals like this.

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