Chelsea did not get what they came for when they took on Champions League winners in Bayern Munich for the UEFA Super Cup from Prague but what the fans did get was an entertaining game and a performance filled with positives for the Blues.
Jose Mourinho, as he does, said after the game that the best team had lost and that he wasn’t particularly happy with the referee. He has a point as Chelsea put in a good enough performance but unfortunately for us Bayern were also very good on the night and it made for a good match.
As for the referee, he was very whistle happy and was only too keen to hand out yellow cards at every opportunity. However, the only man to blame for Ramires’ sending off is the Brazilian himself and he does have a tendency to be thick in these situations.
Branislav Ivanovic struggled with Franck Ribery, especially when David Alaba helped to double-up on the Serbian as Andre Schurrle tired in the second half, but considering Ivanovic was playing against the best player in Europe last season he probably did better than expected. Ashley Cole, who has been off-form for some time, kept Arjen Robben quiet and it was great to see the entire back four organised and playing as a unit. Plenty of positives here for Chelsea.
Mourinho has obviously worked on Oscar as the playmaker works much harder than he did last season and is on the move for the entire match where he may have been guilty of going missing at times last season. Eden Hazard showed signs of how devastating he can be once he really gets going and I was happy with Schurrle’s display on the counter, especially as he would normally play on the left so it’s a little unfamiliar for him on the opposite flank. More positives and don’t forget we still have Willian, Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne to add to our pool of talent here.
Fernando Torres had a good match, took his chance well and even carved out a few half-chances for himself. The Spaniard looked up for it and if Mourinho can sort out the player’s mental attitude then he will be useful as his problems are definitely in his head. Romelu Lukaku made a nuisance of himself for a bit but was playing a tough role when we were down to ten and I’d question putting a young lad at fifth penalty taker, but he’ll learn and be better for the experience.
The only negative from my point of view apart from the loss was the central midfield pairing. I was surprised that neither Frank Lampard or Ramires were hooked off early in the second half as it became clear that Bayern were taking control and Pep Guardiola made the changes which saw them even more dominant in midfield. Lampard has played four matches in less than two weeks now and a full two hours last night. He was putting plenty of effort in but we needed a defensive midfielder and Mourinho will have to think about how best to use the 35-year-old in order to get the best out of him.