Ahead of the clash with another English club with Manchester United in the English Premier League, Chelsea got a wake-up call last night in the UEFA champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk as the European champion suffered their first defeat of the season.
With the return of John Terry to the squad, the ought was that it would be a win-win situation for Chelsea in the away game but reverse was the case as the London club fell 2-1 as the player got off to the worst possible start as he unwittingly set up Shakhtar’s opener inside three minutes. this is Terry’s first appearance since accepting his racism ban.
But he was arguably the least culpable Chelsea player on a night which cost the Barclays Premier League leaders dearly and a risible performance from Fernando Torres scuppered their hopes of a comeback.
Shakhtar Donetsk will be grateful to the duo of Alex texeira and Fernandinho as their goals ensured victory for Shakhtar last night but Chelsea responded late as they couldn’t wake-up from their slumber in good time and were only able to secure a consolation goal thanks to Oscar.
Now on the Group E table, Shakhtar are leaders in the first of what could be a crucial double-header.
Chelsea were spared dropping out of the qualification places by Juventus’ shock draw at Nordsjaelland, but they will need to do much better at Stamford Bridge in two weeks to avoid doing so.
The defeat was their first since their UEFA Super Cup thrashing by Atletico Madrid and the performance was almost as alarming at times as they were carved open by an outstanding Shakhtar side.
The build-up to the game was predictably dominated by Terry’s return, the timing of which was quite extraordinary.
In what was a fiercely-contested game in a fizzing atmosphere, Oscar tried to respond with a tame low drive before Willian almost lived up to his manager’s promise to make Chelsea pay for not signing him by drilling wide.
That was in the 15th minute and it got worse for the visitors when Frank Lampard went down injured, forcing an early end to his record 100th Euro appearance for the club and the introduction of Eden Hazard.
John Terry could not stop Willian brilliantly setting up Henrik Mkhitaryan, Cole doing enough to force Shakhtar’s goal machine to shoot too close to Cech.
That sparked a flurry of chaotic corners, which Chelsea defended frantically and saw Cech produce a wonder-save to deny Tomas Hubschman from point-blank range after Oscar set up the midfielder.
Torres’ weak hooked volley from Branislav Ivanovic’s cross summed up a half in which he proved a real liability, a theme that continued after the restart.
Hazard produced a horrendous gaffe to gift Shakhtar their second goal in the 52nd minute.
He was pickpocketed in the centre-circle by Fernandinho, who fed Adriano and both raced goal wards for the former to slot past Cech.