Chelsea with positives to take despite stalemate in uninspiring draw v Sevilla


Frank Lampard achieved a first as Chelsea manager even if his night ended in frustration at Stamford Bridge.

Incredibly, it was Chelsea’s first goalless draw since Lampard took over 15 months ago and that will offer some comfort to keep a clean sheet against top class European opposition.

Whether that will be enough for a club the size of Chelsea after their summer of big spending to get back among the Champions League is another question.

But no-one should underestimate the quality of Sevilla as they won the Europa League in August having beaten Wolves and Manchester United along the way.

Timo Werner went close but Chelsea couldn’t find a way through against Sevilla

That shows Chelsea’s defiance and defensive resilience with keeper Edouard Mendy making some smart saves after being rushed back after injury to go between the posts.

It is little wonder either as goalkeeping and defending has been such an issue for them this season that even Petr Cech, at the grand old age of 38, has been named as emergency cover in their Premier League squad despite retiring over a year ago.

But Mendy looked solid, the defence held firm and, just three days after shipping three goals against Southampton, they put up a strong rearguard action.

The problem now is more at the other end because this is a team still a work in progress as Timo Werner looked sharp and dangerous but the other summer buys are still finding their feet.

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New Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy looked solid

They spent over £200m in the summer and yet, incredibly, it was not until Hakim Ziyech replaced Mason Mount in the second half that they have had all six new summer signings on the pitch at the same time.

That underlines the strange mist mash of a summer and pre-season and Lampard is still putting the pieces of the puzzle together at Stamford Bridge.

Remarkably, Lampard is only the second English manager after Sir Bobby Robson to take charge in two Champions League campaigns and it is easy to forget he is still a fledgling manager.

Last year, in their first Group match, they lost at home to Valencia and so at least they are making progress against another Spanish side who are a much better proposition.

You could easily look at a goalless draw at home as disappointing but in the context of the Group with Krasnodar and Rennes to come it is a pathway to qualifying for the knock-out stages.

The disappointing aspect is that they did have chances – their best fell to Kurt Zouma with a near post header – and they did not take them.

Kai Havertz suffered another frustrating night

But Mendy’s performance and another outstanding display at right back from Reece James were the real positives for Lampard.

It was a nervy night at times especially when Jorginho could easily have been sent off early on. Jorginho got booked for a foul on Lucas Ocampos after 15 minutes and then, just three minutes later, scythed down Ivan Rakitic. Referee Davide Massa let him off big time.

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Maybe that summed up Chelsea’s frustration as Sevilla were bossing the game. Sevilla midfielder Suso floated in the resulting free kick, Sergi Gomez rose at the back post but his header was well saved by Chelsea keeper Mendy who also denied Ocampos.

It was Sevilla who bossed the first half but Werner was thwarted by Sevilla keeper Bono. Cue some bad jokes about U2 songs.

Frank Lampard will feel satisfied with a point

Ben Chilwell’s corner presented Zouma with his chance after 48 minutes but his header was straight at the keeper and Chelsea were just grateful that Sevilla’s late chances were off target as they could not find a way through.

Sevilla forward Joan Jordan went closest in the closing stages as his dipping shot skimmed off the top of Chelsea’s net. While at the other end, Werner forced Bono into another decent stop with a shot from 20 yards.

But, ultimately, it was a point earned and won for Lampard in his fledgling managerial career against some top class European opponents.





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