PAOK v Chelsea: Thursday 20th September 2018
A comfortable triumph for Chelsea last evening in their Europa league opener against Greece’s PAOK. It was their first match in this league since 2013 – a year the Blues enjoyed victory.
Now, with the team off to a satisfactory start, they can only hope to experience greater wins in their coming games.
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One Is All You Need
For a sixth successive victory, one is all you need. Chelsea defeated PAOK 1-0 with Willian’s successful strike only seven minutes in!
This victory now puts them at three points levelled with BATE (who won 2-0 at Hungarian side Videoton). The Blues must strive to top their group if they want this year’s Europa league to be anything like 2013.
What Are The Stats?
Talking statistically, Chelsea were sure champs. The team enjoyed twenty two shots, with five on target. Whilst the PAOK side attained a disappointing one shot on target out of three in total. The Blue’s relished in 69% possession of the ball, leaving PAOK with a mere 31%.
Indeed Chelsea made skilful use of the ball having a pass accuracy of 90%.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Yes, numbers don’t lie. But, as we look deeper, Chelsea could have enjoyed a far greater win if not for some wasted chances. The Blues passed up numerous opportunities to make the scoreline more exciting.
In fact, Pedro could have helped to increase Chelsea’s lead but was unable to do so. It was in his 38th-minute counter-attack, shooting straight at the keeper after being picked out by Marcos Alonso. From the resulting corner, Morata regrettably steered a hard header too wide.
A culprit was Mr Morata himself. As mentioned above, the Spanish striker headed wide from Pedro’s cross and also dragged a shot wide from Antonio Rudiger’s throughball. And, after failing to keep a sidefoot volley down, Morata blazed over left-footed from the left side of the box.
Nonetheless, the team was successful in maintaining their 1-0 lead until full time.
‘He Was Unlucky’
‘Morata had three or four opportunities, he was unlucky,’ said Chelsea manager Sarri.
‘I hope in the future I can try to help him, but the confidence comes only with goals. I am not able to give him confidence.’
We hope this confidence can be built quickly because as Chelsea gets deeper into the League, there can be no room for mistakes or missed opportunities.
Control for Chelsea
‘We were in control for 90 minutes,’ according to Sarri. He admitted ‘I am really very happy with the three points and the performance but I am not happy with the result. When it is time to kill the match we have to kill the match.’
If performance is to match expectations, fans can hope to see only improvements and greater performance on Chelsea’s side.
An Unfriendly Environment
A sold out stadium in Thessaloniki. Fireworks shooting. Flares going up. PAOK’s home fans created an unfriendly environment for Chelsea to say the least.
Not surprisingly, PAOK fans have a reputation for giving visiting teams a hostile welcome and last night they lived up to that reputation. Before kick-off, the noise was gradually increasing and as the players came out, the stand erupted.
There were fireworks on display and smoke filled the air as the chanting increased and increased.
Though Chelsea fans may have been small in number, they were reportedly acknowledged by Chairman Bruce Buck who was handing out free snacks to the Chelsea supporters who had travelled from all over.
Despite the hostile environment, Chelsea strolled through the game and their fans were the ones left celebrating at the end of the night.
Chelsea v PAOK: The Second Meeting
Chelsea will face PAOK yet again on Thursday 29th November 2018.
Only this time, the action will be live from Chelsea’s territory – Stamford Bridge. Will Chelsea reign in victory once again against their Greek competitors? Or, will PAOK bring the intensity and overcome?
You can be there to find out. View all of the luxury VIP Chelsea hospitality packages that we provide. A brilliant way to enjoy all of the thrills of the match in style.