It looked like it was going to be a tough ask for Chelsea to reach the knockout rounds of the Champions League when the initial draw was made for the group stages.
That, however, was before the Blues suddenly turned into a side possessed who have defied the odds both domestically and on the European stage. Frank Lampard has made the Blues youthful and full of exuberance and vigour; and a side who stand every chance of reaching the latter stages of the Champions League.
Especially if they face Maxi Gomez every week…But more on that later.
Heading into their clash against Valencia, victory over the Spanish outfit would place Chelsea into the knockout stages, but one particular omission from the starting XI was what had Twitter grumbling prior to kick off.
I have no clue why mount isn’t starting
— 픸학 핞핚 픾 (@_marlando_) November 27, 2019
No Mason Mount no party 臘♀️臘♀️. But come on you Blues
— Sandra-Mount (@ThatChelseaLady) November 27, 2019
Valencia looked a shadow of the side who were turned over by Arsenal in last season’s Europa League, carving out numerous chances against a shaky looking Chelsea defence.
They did not, however, think they would get such a clear opportunity to take the lead…and not score!
Gomez, hang your head in shame.
Miss of the season.
Gomez has a tap in for Valencia but completely missed the ball!#VALCHE
— Juzza07 (@Juzza07) November 27, 2019
Then play was briefly broken up after an unfortunate clash of heads in the Valencia box. Although it’s fair to say Blues fans knew who came out on top of Kurt Zouma and Gabriel.
Oh Maxi. Oh Maxi.
When will you learn to score? Equally so, you’d think the West Ham fans whose club were chasing him throughout the summer are probably slightly chuffed at present.
This maxi gomez has just missed two sitters ffs
— Musa (@Musathfc28) November 27, 2019
Maxi Gomez, thank you. Missed two sitters and Chelsea fans appreciate you #VCFCHE
— American Gaffers Podcast (@AmericanGaffers) November 27, 2019
Maxi Gomez has missed two absolute SITTERS vs Chelsea! Wow
— FPL Mac (@MacFPL) November 27, 2019
OK, it wasn’t an out and out miss.
And, it was a pretty fine save from Kepa, as much as Gomez’s miss.
Didn’t realize in live time that Kepa saved that Gómez attempt.
That’s a great save. Much more like the Kepa we all know.
— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) November 27, 2019
Then it was N’Golo Kante’s turn.
Kante missed too… WTH is going on here
— ً (@cee8cfc) November 27, 2019
ffs Kante you had all the time in the world
— Chico (@ari_tha_balaga) November 27, 2019
Then an absolute stunner…………….OF A SAVE BY JASPER CILLESSEN!
And then the goal that was most surely coming.
Unfortunately for the Blues, although you can’t say it wasn’t coming, Carlos Soler poked the home side in front after some lazy defending from Lampard’s men
Valencia lead… Now we are on the brink… Need a goal
They really deserve it though
— Fanele Mbuyazi (@FaneleMbuyazi8) November 27, 2019
But hold on! No less than two minutes later, matters were levelled by the most unlikely of sources.
Indeed, Mateo Kovacic netted his first Blues goal (finally) with a low drive from outside the box that left Cillessen with no chance. Game on!
Kovacic finally gets his first Chelsea goal!!! This guy is such a baller under Lamps
— Extra Medium (@iMike_93) November 27, 2019
1 – Mateo Kovacic has scored his first goal in 122 appearances across all club competitions, netting his first goal for Chelsea on his 71st appearance, and with his 45th shot. Thirsty. #UCL pic.twitter.com/zQfmTWygnD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 27, 2019
KOVACIC SCORES. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. 1-1
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) November 27, 2019
It didn’t take long for the visitors to put their noses in front, when Christian Pulisic poked home from a Chelsea corner to put Lampard’s side on course for the knockout stages.
That is, however, after a loooong VAR review. Like, really long.
Pulisic is so good he’s the only player who gets VAR to correctly give goals in his favor
— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) November 27, 2019
Then (like a sack of spuds) Rodrigo went down under Jorginho’s challenge in the box to hand the home side the perfect opportunity to level the tie from the penalty spot.
Up stepped Dani Parejo…
Oh yes he did. Showing Maurizio Sarri that penalties are actually his forte, he made a stunning flying stop.
Anyway, I need that Kepa penalty save injected directly into my veins.
— Zubair (@ZubiDoobiDoo) November 27, 2019
The game was far from over, though.
Oh this was merely the beginning of an insane finish.
Going through each chance would be utterly impossible, so let’s skip to the equaliser. And what an equaliser it was. I mean, the lad is so good he scores even when he doesn’t intend to.
Daniel Wass’ cross was poorly hit, yet somehow fooled everyone in existence, especially Kepa, to fly into the far corner via the post.
Wow! What a Freak goal by Wass!
— oludotun ajogbasile (@dotmanajo) November 27, 2019
It’s one of those lucky goals. Wass never meant to score from there.
— Nkululeko Duma (@08Leko80) November 27, 2019
Was coming!!!!!!!! Freak goal but definitely was coming
— Carl Jackson (@jacko_cfc) November 27, 2019
Some thought he meant it..
Good thing that we didn’t lose. That Wass goal was something else though
— Mastermind. (@DonKraidly) November 27, 2019
Chances continued to fly in left, right and centre, with it remarkable the game didn’t finish with more than four goals.
In the end, given the wasted opportunities from Valencia, many Chelsea fans were just glad not to lose, as they have a favourable home clash with Lille to come in their final group game, which could see them progress to the knockout stages if Los Ches fail to beat Ajax.
But seriously, Valencia missed some sitters.
Could’ve easily been an L. Chelsea is unbelievably lucky
— dave (@SpursyDave) November 27, 2019
Valencia 2-2 Chelsea Match Thoughts:
-Extremely lucky to come out with anything today
-What a Match
-Kepa somehow managed to be the hero and the villain
– I love VAR
Must beat Lille now, we move. pic.twitter.com/m9U8916DIq
— Jack (@_ftbljack_) November 27, 2019
Chelsea’s defence is shocking. Lucky to get a draw. Valencia missed so many easy chances! #VCFCHE
— VimZo tK (@VimZo) November 27, 2019
We honestly had no right to draw that game. Valencia missed so many chances! Some were sitters!
— Ludumo Nkabi (@Ludz19) November 27, 2019
If you want entertainment, look no further than Chelsea in the Champions League this season.