Chelsea 0-0 FC Copenhagen – Wasteful Blues thankful for disappointing Copenhagen

It was an insipid display all round but while many will describe Chelsea’s performance last night as poor, their opponents gave no reason as to why they had progressed this far into the Champions League or, indeed, as to how they drew with Barcelona. The lack of threat posed by Copenhagen seemed to reflect on Chelsea who, while not complacent, did seem like they could have done without this fixture. Regardless, they will need to step up more than one gear when Manchester City visit on Sunday.

Observing the statistics of last night’s match it could be said the Chelsea players were extremely talented. They somehow contrived to have 29 shots at Johan Wiland’s goal and not convert a single one. The two-goal hero from the first-leg, Nicolas Anelka, will have to take much responsibility for this appalling statistic. He had seven efforts on goal without forcing Wiland into any superlative saves. Several times the Frenchman was played through on goal but hesitation amid disillusionment with the occasion meant he was unable to take advantage of the support given by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. When substituted in the second-half he looked like the Anelka that English football first knew as the Incredible Sulk. His replacement however, Fernando Torres, was eager to get involved in the game, showing impressive link-up play without getting chances on goal. Torres, assumingly rested for Sunday, was well received by the Chelsea faithful who clearly admire his work rate, particularly when they see Anelka’s last night.

Similarly to Torres’ Chelsea career so far, Copenhagen gave a lot of effort to try and break the Blues, even enjoying the majority of the possession. The best chance of the match came in the first-half when Copenhagen’s Dame N’Doye caught Petr Cech off balance, curling an exquisite free-kick onto Cech’s post. Had that gone in, it would not have been surprising to see this year’s Chelsea capitulate further. However, for all their work, the Danes simply seemed a team out of their depth in Europe’s elite competition. N’Doye appeared enthusiastic to take on Chelsea’s defence but his end product was poor and the visitors’ desperation came to a climax when Cristian Bolanos was cautioned for an atrocious dive. Copenhagen’s desire for the game was far more visible than Chelsea’s but the lack of real quality made Chelsea’s progression to the quarter-finals routine.

Nonetheless, there were some bright sparks in Chelsea’s play. Drogba produced a moment of magic when bursting into the penalty area before back-heeling to Ashley Cole, who passed to Yuri Zhirkov, who shot narrowly wide. It was the dynamic interchange that used to characterise Chelsea’s play, suggesting that when the higher occasion does arise in the last eight, they do have the ability to turn on the style. Ancelotti commented pre-match that the first-leg of this tie has turned Chelsea’s season around. He will be hoping the second leg does not represent a regression. With Copenhagen sufficiently dealt with, the Blues await the bigger fish at Stamford Bridge.

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