Chelsea FC were shocked once more by Murat Yakin’s FC Basel as the home side completed a historic double over the Blues. Mourinho’s Chelsea were lacking in ambition, urgency and attacking flare as they put in a very indifferent performance at the St. Jakob Park, and they succumbed to a very late strike by Mohamed Saleh to go down 1-0 in Switzerland. That Chelsea had no shots on target at all the whole match, is a perfect indicator of their performance in the fixture, and will give Mourinho some real headache as he goes into a weekend where he has to face Southampton, who have the most miserly defense in the League, having conceded a mere seven goals in twelve matches.
Despite the defeat, Chelsea managed to qualify for the knockout stages, as Schalke drew with Steaua Bucureşti in Germany, and that meant that with a modest 9 points from 5 games, Chelsea will remain in the top two in their group even if they lose to Steaua Bucureşti on the last matchday of the group stages, even though that is an unlikely prospect. But what will be of concern here to the Special One is Chelsea’s abysmal showing against the Swiss side, as the Blues struggled to create any kind of openings over the full length of the 90 minutes, and did not even trouble the Basel goal keeper even once, who had a surprisingly quiet night out.
Chelsea had also lost the return fixture 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and were looking for revenge as they came to Basel. Jose Mourinho had warned the Swiss side that his team were much-improved from their showing in the shock defeat on the first matchday of this season’s Champions League. However, his side hardly backed his claim in the opening stages of the match, with the home side keeping the Blues on the backfoot in the starting minutes. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech had a busy night as he saved from Taulant Xhaka and Fabian Frei before John Obi Mikel made a goal-line clearence to keep Chelse level.
The attacking Brazilian trio of Willian, Ramires and Oscar didn’t seem to work as well as Mourinho would have thought as Willian only displayed his brilliance in flashes, and the usually reliable Oscar was uncharacteristically anonymous in the first half. Ramires’s workrate can not be doubted, but he has been used too much in the anchor role to be deployed in attacking midfield now, and it showed as the Ram wasted a glorious chance when he was played in down the right flank. Lampard and Mikel made a solid shield in front of the defense but their contribution was again, zero in terms of attacking prowess. Eto’o who was chosen in front of fit-again Fernando Torres and out-of-favor Demba Ba by Mourinho, offered little to no threat as the target man before he was injured and replaced by Torres on the stroke of half-time.
Chelsea’s performance improved after the half-time when the hapless Oscar was replace by Eden Hazard, who linked well with El Nino, but Chelsea still couldn’t find a way through on goal, as they failed to register any shots on target at all. And their woefulness was punished by a clinical Saleh strike when he was played in by Schar in the 87th minute, and Chelsea had to return home empty-handed. Mourinho attributed the loss to his players being tired but he, himself, would know how blunt his fray of attacking talent were on the night, and how much he has to figure out if Chelsea are to win any trophy this season. As they prepare to welcome the rock-solid Southampton to the Bridge this Sunday, Mourinho will be hoping his side can shrug off this pathetic performance and pose much more of a threat against this season’s surprise package, the Saints.