Goals; Chelsea- Giroud (26′, 37′) Hudson Odoi (60′) Morata (78′)
A first Chelsea goal for Callum Hudson-Odoi was 1 of 4 Chelsea goals in their comfortable 4-0 win over PAOK in the Europa League.
Unsurprisingly, the game started the way that everyone expected with Chelsea being on top and pushing PAOK from the minute go and this high intensity was shown in the 3rd minute when Ross Barkley’s shot was deflected wide of the PAOK goal. However, Chelsea’s quest to gain 3 points in this Group L encounter was made easier when in the 6th minute, a mistake from Khacheridi allowed Olivier Giroud in 1-on-1, but Giroud couldn’t take his shot because Khacheridi hacked Giroud to the ground and was shown a straight red card as he was the last man and he denied the Frenchman a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Chelsea from then to half-time increased the intensity on this 10 men PAOK side and had good chances through Loftus Cheek, Hudson-Odoi and Cahill to grab the first goal of the game, But none of those chances were taken. However, Chelsea weren’t going to wait much longer for the first goal of the game, as their pressure paid off in the 26th minute when Pedro produced some lovely trickery after a lovely floated ball was played over the top from Fabregas, and Pedro teed up Olivier Giroud who almost passed it into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. That goal was the Frenchman’s 3rd in his last 3 games for Chelsea in all competitions.
Straight after the goal, Chelsea thought they had the second, but Hudson-Odoi’s effort from outside the box crashed against the woodwork. The Blues intense pressure to grab the second goal paid off in the 37th minute when Fabregas chipped a lovely ball over the top of the PAOK defense, and Giroud latched onto to the ball and volleyed it first time into the net beyond the goalkeeper at his near post. That was the Frenchman’s 4th goal in his last 3 games in all competitions. Does he now start over Morata at the weekend in the West-London Derby?
The West-Londoners only other chance in the first half came from Pedro, who got his feet muddled up in the box when the ball was played into the Spaniard in the box, his shot was mishit and deflected off his other foot and hacked away to safety by the PAOK defender.
PAOK’s only half-chance in the first half came on the counter-attack, but El Kaddouri’s shot was blazed over Kepa’s bar from outside the box.
So Chelsea went in 2-0 at halftime, and that was exactly the first half that Sarri would have wanted after his side’s embarrassing display in the London Derby last weekend against Tottenham at Wembley. For PAOK, they can be proud of the way they have defended since going down to 10 men, as they only conceded 2 goals in the first half against a Chelsea team who have a point to prove to their manager.
PAOK made a sub at half-time with Warda coming on for Prijovic, and the Egyptian made a difference from PAOK causing the Chelsea backline a few problems early on in the second half and adding a new dynamic to the 10 men PAOK attack. However this short spell at the start of the second half was ended when Chelsea regain full control of the game, and in the 57th minute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek drifted into the PAOK area and his shot across the keeper was well saved by the PAOK keeper. Zappacosta also had a chance with a half-volley from a corner. Before Callum Hudson-Odoi bagged his first goal for Chelsea in the 60th minute, when his shot from inside the box beat the keeper at his near post as it did for Giroud’s second goal. The keeper could have done a lot better with that one.
Midway through the second half, Giroud was subbed off for Morata, and the Spaniard made an instant impact when in the 77th minute, Hudson-Odoi’s cross from the right-hand side was guided home by Morata to give Chelsea a 4 goal lead over the Greek opposition.
Chelsea had chances before the game finished, but neither Willian, nor Hudson Odoi, nor Barkley could add to Chelsea’s tally before the referee ended the contest.
So that win for Chelsea maintains their 100% winning record in Group L, whereas for PAOK, that knocks them out of the Europa League, which could be a blessing in disguise for them, as they will be concentrating on winning the Greek League for the first time in the while. They currently sit top in that league with a 5 point lead, so being knocked out of this competition isn’t the end of the world. PAOK gave it a go and didn’t just park the bus when they went down to 10 men, but the quality of Chelsea showed through, and it ended up being a good and professional performance from the blues.
Player and Manager Ratings
Kepa- 5 (Had nothing to do the whole game)
Zappacosta- 6 (Whipped in some good deliveries for Giroud)
Christensen- 6 (Solid performance, but wasn’t really tested by the PAOK defense.
Cahill- 7 (Made a vital tackle to halt Leo Jaba’s run into the Chelsea box in the second half)
Emerson- 8 (Brilliant in the attacking and defensive phases. Crossing was brilliant from the left-hand side)
Fabregas- 6 (Started the game well, but looked tired as the game grew on. Did get a lovely assist for Giroud’s second goal though)
Loftus-Cheek- 8 (Created multiple chances and nearly scored on multiple occasions. Really has staked a claim to gain more minutes in the Premier League team after that performance tonight)
Barkley- 5 (Average)
Pedro- 7 (Lovely assist for Giroud’s second goal)
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 9 (MOTM- an excellent goal and assist, and provided a new dynamic to this Chelsea team tonight. There were occasions where he needs to mix his game up more because he does cut inside a lot, but he will learn as he is a very young and exciting player)
Giroud- 8 (Brilliant 2 goals and has definitely staked his claim to be included in Sarri’s line up on Sunday against Fulham)
Ampadu- 6 (Calm and composed when he came on)
Willian- 5 (Didn’t make much of an impact)
Morata- 7 (Got a goal off the bench and made an instant impact)
Manager rating- Maurizio Sarri- 8- picked a good solid team. Made 10 changes from Spurs game and mixed in some youth with experience really well.
Paschalakis- 6 (Even though he conceded 4, he made some vital saves to keep the score down)
Vieirinha- 7 (Caused a threat on the counter attack for PAOK)
Crespo- 4 (poor defensively)
Khacheridi- 1 (Sent off so early in the game. Killed any chances of a PAOK upset in the 6th minute!)
Matos- 5 (Average)
Mauricio- 5 (Average)
Wernbloom- 6 (Good defensively)
Omar El Kaddouri- 5 (Had one of PAOK’s only attempts in the match)
Shakhov- 5 (Average)
Leo Jaba- 6 (Made some good runs)
Prijovic- 4 (Starved of service)
Warda- 7 (PAOK’s MOTM- added another dimension to PAOK’s attack)
Varela- 5 (Average)
Pelkas- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact that game in any way)
Manager rating- Razvan Lucescu- 6- Choose the best side possible but wasn’t helped by the early red card. He did make a good decision to bring Warda on at half-time as he added another dimension to the 10 men PAOK attack.
Possession (%) 63 37
Shots 28 8
Shots on Target 10 0
Corners 12 2
Fouls 9 10
Position in Europa League table (Group L)
Chelsea is top of the group with maximum points of 15 and a +9 goal difference. Whereas PAOK is at the bottom of the group with only 3 points and a goal difference of -5. The second qualification spot is now up for grabs going into the final match day between BATE and Vidi who both have 6 points, but BATE are currently ahead of them in the table of tonight’s win against the Hungarian opposition, because they have a better goal difference.
Next games for both teams
Chelsea are next in action on Sunday when they take on Fulham at 11am (UK time) in the West-London Derby at Stamford Bridge. In terms of next European action for the blues, on the final matchday, they take on Vidi away in Hungary at 5:55 (UK time) on the 13th December. Whereas for the Greeks, they are next in action on the 3rd of December where they take Lamia away from home at 5:00pm (UK time). They are next in European action for the last time on the 13th December, when they face BATE Borisov at home at 5:55pm (UK time).
Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post match analysis podcast from this Europa League game later this week.
By Danyal Khan