Chelsea vs Galatasaray: Anything Can Happen
Another not so happy night for Chelsea: when it seemed like the British side had the game under complete control and that they could do whatever they wanted to Galatasaray, the Turkish team turned the game around and finished on top of them - if not on the score sheet, at least on where quality is concerned.
After a strong first half, Fernando Torres's goal (What a brilliant assistance by Cesar Azpilicueta, by the way!) revealed itself scarce and José Mourinho's side won't be as comfortable as they would like to be when they face Galatasaray again. Leading by only one goal is always fickle and you can't fall asleep over that result, which is what I think the Blues did a little on the second half of the game.
I don't know if that happened because it seemed like Galatasaray wasn't playing well and they gave a lot of space to the Blues, which is how the goal and the many attemps Chelsea made through the first half happened. Galatasaray was playing too openly and letting Torres, Andre Schürrle and Eden Hazard in too many times, but the truth is that, for the umpteenth time this season, I saw Mourinho's side get too cozy with the result they had and couldn't win in the end. You can never be too sure that you'll win, especially when you only scored a single goal.
Now taking a look at Chelsea's players individually, I'd definitely praise Azpilicueta for his excellent work tonight. He keeps growing as a player and I've been enjoying him a little more with every game.
I also really liked Fernando Torres tonight: he fought, he created many good opportunities, he brought depth to the game and scored a goal to top off what I think was one of his best performances this season, despite being subbed out after 67 minutes. Plus, I believe scoring that goal was good for his confidence and his chances at being selected by Vicente del Bosque in the upcoming Spain's games.
I also liked Petr Cech's performance, as always, and still believe he's the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, because statistics aren't everything. Lately, his quality and his brilliant netminding in every game make him deserve that title right now.
Unfortunately, I also feel the need to highlight two other players' performances, but this time not by positive reasons. First, Hazard, who was very much invisible against Galatasaray. It was either that or the fact that I've been getting so used to his stellar performances in the Premier League that anything less than that is not good enough for me.
Finally, we have John Terry, who's usually very secure in his every move and today didn't seem to be that well in the game. Plus, given the way Mourinho usually diagrams the players' positions when defending a corner, Aurélien Chedjou's goal was very much due to the captain's bad defending.
But it also has to be said that this result wasn't entirely due to Chelsea's apparent numbness on the second half: after he found his team losing, Roberto Mancini read the game very well and managed to turn around that result with excellent tactical changes, which was, for me, the main reason Chelsea couldn't keep their initial advantage.
Mancini did tonight what he should have done back when he was coaching Manchester City: he made the necessary changes at the right time and wasn't afraid to put attackers on when need be. Many times in Manchester, I've seen him defending draws - tonight he made the Turkish side fight until the end, and maybe they would have even surpassed Chelsea if the game had went on a little longer.
That said, the only thing that's certain now is that pretty much anything can happen when these two teams face each other again, if they play as well as they did tonight. Still, I'd give Chelsea the favoritism because of the home factor: everbody knows Mourinho's excellent numbers at the Bridge.