Chelsea fell to a disappointing defeat away to Roma on Tuesday night in the Champions League. There had been a lot of supporters hoping that the Blues would gain a positive result in Italy and move one step closer to qualification, but they failed to do that with a miserable display. They remain in a strong position in the group thanks to Atletico Madrid failing to beat Qarabag for the second time, but they will be disappointed with the result and performance on Tuesday. Here are three talking points from the match:
Antonio Rudiger was a disappointment
The summer signing has shown flashes of his ability during the last few weeks and was starting to establish himself as a first-team regular until this performance. The German international made an awful mistake for the second goal as he let a through ball pass him without any effort to clear it. This allowed Stephan El Shaarawy to pick up the ball unchallenged and score his second of the night. It is difficult to say what the defender was thinking and it will be an error that Antonio Conte won’t forget in a hurry.
Chelsea have a lot of options at centre-back and for that reason, Rudiger will be fearing for his place. Cesar Azpilicueta is arguably the team’s most reliable defender, but he was used at right wing-back today. Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen has a lot of potential and could be afforded another opportunity as a result of the German’s poor performance against Roma. The mistake came at an awful time for the Premier League side as it allowed the hosts to take a two-goal lead into half-time.
Stephan El Shaarawy reminded the world of his talent
The Italian had long been tipped for greatness since breaking through at AC Milan. However, he failed to kick on at the San Siro before a disappointing loan spell with Monaco saw him move back to Italy as he joined Roma. The attacker scored an excellent first goal from distance to give the side an early lead before adding to his tally with a smart finish before half-time. This match-winning display came just days after his winner against Bologna in Serie A.
At the age of 25, there is still time for the Italian international to develop into a great player in Serie A and in European competition. He will be full of confidence after his success during the last few days and seems ready to establish himself in the Roma team. Mo Salah was a big loss to the side during the summer, but they now have a player with enough quality to step up and replace him. The next step will be for the player to show consistency and truly emerge as one of the club’s most important players.
Chelsea miss N’Golo Kante
The midfielder has been a winner since arriving in England, having won back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea. It seemed too simplistic to attribute both triumphs to Kante being in the side, but the Foxes’ decline last season and the recent struggles at Stamford Bridge underline the quality of the French international. He has missed the entirety of October and the Blues don’t look the same side without him, as they are conceding too many clear-cut chances and failing to dominate matches.
It is extremely difficult to play with a two-man midfield and to succeed, it needs to have the right blend of individuals. Kante’s relentless energy and ball-winning ability makes him perfect for it, but Chelsea don’t have a like-for-like replacement for him, which is why their results have been poor during his absence. They have conceded 11 goals in six matches without the Frenchman and kept only one clean sheet, which came against a Bournemouth side that showed little attacking intent. The midfielder will return soon, but Conte needs to find a way of playing without the 26-year-old as they are currently reliant on him.