Published:12 November 2020
On Wednesday night, Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 victory over Rennes in the Champions League. In the first 45 minutes from the penalty spot, the home side was given two goals after the referee twice penalized left-back Dalbert.
Timo Werner impressively dispatched the penalties. Still, the second was ludicrously unfair in particular-as was the decision to send Dalbert off for a double booking, the second for a suspected handball after a ricochet from his shin.
Chelsea had it mostly easy, dominating possession and willing to make adjustments after the break, and Tammy Abraham scored the third with a close-range finish.
Jorginho handed over penalty-taking duties to Timo Werner after another recent miss from the spot and the German striker continued in the job tonight.
His strikes from 12 yards were fierce, unerring, flawless-drilled into the top or bottom corners, offering little chance to goalkeepers and plenty of faith for his side.
In complete contrast to Jorginho's run-up, it's a no-frills approach, but it's also proving more successful.
Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma are starting to develop a very excellent understanding of the context, but the skill of the Brazilian was seen here most of all.
Though Rennes still had 10 men and a chance of a rebound at times, it was his positional job and ability to reach the ball for clearances that eased brief pressure spells.
Typical of his ferocious dedication was one specific block and clearance just before he was subbed off for a rest, while he then shepherded striker Serhou Guirassy out of the way for his goalkeeper; it was quick, necessary work, but expertly done.
There was plenty to appreciate one of the balls as well, with a fired-through pass from deep starting an attack that almost resulted in a goal.
The Rennes team-sheet was slightly frustrating for those who enjoy seeing the best youngsters across Europe in action.
Edouardo Camavinga, a young midfield teenager of immense renown, was out with injury. At the same time, left-back Faitout Maouassa was outstanding last year and connected himself to Man United and Chelsea-but he's out until the new year.
Before his move to Rennes this summer, Jeremy Doku was just sub, too, a Belgian starlet previously linked to Liverpool among others.
Given the penchant for snatching up foreign talent from Premier League clubs, maybe Rennes can see this as a positive.
For Chelsea, it looks fine. Seven points from three games took them halfway towards a possible qualification, halfway through matches at the halfway stage.
Seville's comeback victory over Krasnodar means it's neck and neck at the top of the Premier League and LaLiga wings, and a long way back to the other pair, at only one point each.
Next time out at Rennes, avoiding defeat would bring Chelsea within touching distance of the last 16, which Frank Lampard will see as another big move forward.