Majority of the English sides in Europe have made a perfect start to their 2017/18 campaigns both in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League apart from Everton who recently dismissed manager Ronald Koeman. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea certainly made an excellent start to their Champions League group but were dealt a significant blow last night as they lost 3-0 away to Serie A side Roma.
This defeat meant they became the first English side to lose in the competition this season. It also saw Roma move to the top of Group C, one point above the Blues, which could be significant if they can stay there. If Chelsea are unable to win the group, it would mean that they are likely to draw one of the European giants in the next round of the competition and therefore make it a lot harder for the Blues to progress much further.
We take a look at three things that went wrong for the Blues on a dismal night in Rome.
Blues made a disastrous start in Rome
It is unforgivable to concede within the first minute of any game let alone in a vital match on the European stage. However, that is exactly what Chelsea did in this one as they fell behind within 39 seconds as Stephan El Shaarawy fired home from 25 yards out to make it 1-0 to the hosts. It immediately put Chelsea on the back foot, and this is something they could not afford to do in this sort of match, especially away from home. It was always going to be difficult for Conte’s side to get back into the match after falling behind.
Conte says Blues lacked hunger in defeat
In the aftermath of the loss, Chelsea boss Conte stated how his side lacked hunger in the game, and this will be a concern for everyone connected with the club. It is never a good sign if players lack hunger and desire to win a football match. If you cannot get up for a Champions League night, then it is tough to understand given the occasion. There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks that the players are not completely satisfied with Conte’s management and his training exercises. It is difficult to tell whether this was behind their poor performance against Roma or whether it was just generally a bad day at the office for the Blues.
Chelsea’s defence must improve if they are to be a success
One thing which has become evident this season is that Chelsea are very vulnerable defensively. This is surprising considering how strong they were at the back last season as Conte led the Blues to the Premier League title. El Shaarawy’s first goal came as a result of a long ball which was not cleared and his second came after a huge mix up between Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta. The Blues did not improve throughout the game and continued to look wide open. Diego Perotti was given far too much time and space for his third and the home side could have had more had they been more clinical in front of goal with some big chances in the latter stages of the game.
Conte will be aware that his side must improve quickly before they face Manchester United in a massive Premier League clash this Sunday.