PAOK 0-1 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Blues Begin Europa League Campaign With Simple Win

??Chelsea continued their winning form as they beat PAOK in the Europa League thanks to Willian’s well taken strike. 

The Blues remain unbeaten against Greek opposition and are now second in their group behind BATE Borisov as they look to progress to the knockout stages.

Ross Barkley’s perfectly weighted pass set up Willian for Chelsea’s goal as they took the lead inside ten minutes, after some poor goalkeeping from Paschalakis. They would have been disappointed not to have led by more after Alvaro Morata missed several chances to double their lead. 

PAOK v Chelsea - UEFA Europa League - Group L

The London side failed to create many chances in the second half despite dominating possession, and wasted the few they created as PAOK’s defence kept the Blues out after the break.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


Key Talking Point

POAK will be pleased that they only conceded one on the night and that they restricted Chelsea to only a few quality chances across the 90 minutes.

They held their own in defence against a strong Premier League lineup, but were unable to create any chances of their own during the match.

PAOK v Chelsea - UEFA Europa League - Group L

Tempers flared due to frustration in the second half as Warda clashed with Rudiger, but PAOK could not muster a goal during their final push in the closing stages.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Paschalakis (4); Vierinha (6), Varela (6), Khacheridi (6), Tosca (6); Mauricio (7), Wernbloom (5); Jaba (7), Shakhov (5), Kaddouri (6), Pelkas (5).

Substitutes: Warda (4), Prijovic (5), Biseswar (6)

STAR MAN – Although PAOK rarely threatened, Leo Jaba provided an out ball for the Greek side and was the only player who looked dangerous. The winger did more than just hold up the ball and managed to test Alonso until the full back went off. 

The Brazilian will have been disappointed that he did not receive more of the ball as he was one of a few bright sparks in the game and helped ease the pressure on his side by gaining territory.

WORST PLAYER – Alex Paschalakis should have done better with the first goal and forced his side to change their game plan early on. The goalkeeper never looked comfortable and did not instil his back four with confidence.


Key Talking Point

Chelsea will ultimately be left wondering how they did not score more goals. The game was kept alive by the Blues’ wasteful finishing and several key players including Pedro and Alvaro Morata could have eased nerves during the final ten minutes, when PAOK threatened most.

?Ross Barkley impressed during the game and showed glimpses of the form which secured his move to Chelsea, and the former ?Everton man’s pass opened up PAOK’s defence for the goal. 

PAOK v Chelsea - UEFA Europa League - Group L

Overall, it was clear that Chelsea missed Hazard’s energy and skill. ?Willian was one of the few players able to cut through the Greek club’s defence but no other player looked like they would score the all important second goal.

Player Ratings

?Starting XI: 
Arrizabalaga (5); Zappacosta (6), Christensen (6), Rudiger (6), Alonso (7); Kante (7), Jorginho (6), Barkley (7); Willian (8), Morata (5), Pedro (5)

Substitutes: Fabregas (5), Azpilicueta (6), Giroud (6)

STAR MAN – Chelsea looked dangerous down Willian’s wing and the Brazilian was rightly rewarded with a goal in the first half. The winger was linked with moves to ?Manchester United and ?Barcelona in the summer and the Blues will be delighted they retained his services. He made intelligent runs and also dropped into midfield to control the game.

Although the winger could have added to his tally had it not been for wasteful finishing, the 30-year-old staked his claim for a starting spot in the Premier League with another impressive performance, albeit against an opponent of poor quality. 

WORST PLAYER – ?Alvaro Morata wasted several chances in the first half and could have erased any concerns over the result. The Spaniard’s header at the front post in particular was a chance he will be frustrated that he did not bury. Morata was not shy of effort but at times tried to force the issue and squandered chances.

Looking Ahead

Chelsea face a trip to ?West Ham next and Maurizio Sarri will be hoping that they can continue their winning run in the Premier League. 

Having rested Eden Hazard and other key players the Italian will be expecting a good performance at the London Stadium as they face a West Ham side that have been struggling for form.

PAOK face second placed AEK Athens next and could go to the top of the Super League if results go their way. PAOK will want to bounce back and ensure that their winning streak in Greece continues on Sunday.


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