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Chelsea played out a 2-2 draw against Valencia on Wednesday night at the Mestalla.
Valencia opened the scoring through Soler five minutes before halftime but Chelsea struck back immediately through Mateo Kovacic. Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea the lead in the 50th minute before Valencia equalised in the 82nd minute through Wass.
Here are 5 things we learned from the game:
1. Reece James should be starting regularly for Chelsea
The game against Valencia was his third start of the season and the youngster showed he should be playing more. The 19 year old completed 2 dribbles, created two chances and won four tackles against Valencia. He put in four good crosses and made one interception.
2. Chelsea can’t depend on Batshuayi
An injury to Tammy Abraham late in the first half meant Michy Batshuayi started the second half for the Blues. The Belgian striker showed he’s ineffective if his team is under pressure and needs him as an outlet to ease pressure. Chelsea needed a striker to hold up play and ease the pressure on the team against Valencia but Batshuayi couldn’t do that. Olivier Giroud would have been the better substitute for Abraham against Valencia.
3. Kepa Arrizabalaga needs competition
The Spaniard has been poor for Chelsea this season and his poor form continued against Valencia on Wednesday night. Arrizabalaga tends to make the difficult saves and fail at the easier saves. His penalty save against Valencia was brilliant but he should have stopped Valencia’s first goal. Arrizabalaga definitely needs a competition to wake up him. I think he’s too relaxed at the club.
4. Chelsea need to learn how to manage games
We conceded too many chances to Valencia due to our inability to properly manage games. Manchester City showed us on Saturday how to manage a game when you want to protect a lead and Chelsea should learn from them. After Pulisic’s goal, we needed to keep the ball better and make less forward runs. We left too many spaces for Valencia to exploit and we could easily have lost the game.
5. Lampard has a selection headache in midfield
Mateo Kovacic’s form for Chelsea is giving Frank Lampard a selection headache in midfield and it’s a good problem to have. The Croatian was Chelsea’s best player against Manchester City and he was brilliant again against Valencia. Playing a midfield trio of Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho means Mason Mount drops to the bench. Starting Mount means one of Jorginho, Kante or Kovacic drops to the bench. I definitely don’t want to be in Lampard’s shoes at this point.