An overview of tonight’s Europa League victory with the key themes, players and moments analysed…
Our first-ever home group game in this competition was by no means an easy one and it took until the 70th minute to find a way past a stubborn Vidi defence, Alvaro Morata the man in the right place to finish off a slick move.
He might have scored in a first half that was not short of chances at either end, Emerson and Willian also going close for us and Ruben Loftus-Cheek denied a penalty.
Vidi had sights of our goal but found Kepa Arrizabalaga in great form, so Morata’s strike proved enough for a second win out of two in the Europa League.
Persistence pays off
Morata has had a difficult time in front of goal of late but he didn’t let putting a good chance wide in the first half affect him, continuing to hold the ball up well, win free-kicks and help out when defending set-pieces too. Then when a second chance presented itself, with 20 minutes to go, he displayed his finishing ability with a fierce strike. With the ball on the rise after bouncing it was not a comfortable opportunity but he made it look easy, and hopefully that will boost the Spaniard’s confidence.
It has been a frustrating period for Ruben Loftus-Cheek with injury having ruled him out of action since the last international break almost a month ago. He has been working hard to return since then and tonight took his place in the starting XI alongside Cesc Fabregas and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. Solid throughout, the young Englishman should have been awarded a first-half penalty after a trademark surging run was illegally brought to an abrupt halt. He was replaced to a standing ovation after 65 minutes.
Emerson was a livewire throughout down the left wing, creating our first opening of the night for himself with three drops of the shoulder before shooting over. He also showed his worth defensively with an important header in the first half and a great sliding challenge in the second. The left-back was in our top five players for completed passes and also made a game-high five successful dribbles. No Blue made more than his two interceptions, either.
As expected it was a much-changed team from the side that started on Saturday. Among the fresh faces were Davide Zappacosta and Emerson Palmieri at full-back, Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen in central defence, Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield and the fit-again Pedro in the front three.
16: Alvaro Morata flicked a shot wide after a clever through ball from Pedro released him.
38: Chelsea denied a penalty after Ruben Loftus-Cheek is rugby tackled to the ground.
43: Great chance for Loic Nego after he cut inside Christensen, but his shot lacked the power to truly test Kepa Arrizabalaga.
46: Kepa made a good diving save to his right, parrying Nego’s fiercely-hit effort to safety.
70: GOAL! 1-0! Fabregas floated a lovely pass to Willian who glanced a back header on to Morata and he lashed home from six yards out.
76: Sub Ross Barkley flicked a near-post header against the angle of post and bar. 83: Kepa leapt to his right to keep out Istvan Kovacs’ outside-of-the-boot effort before Victor Moses cleared.
83: Kepa leapt to his right to keep out Istvan Kovacs’ outside-of-the-boot effort before Victor Moses cleared.
It's back to the Premier League on Sunday with a trip to St Mary's to play Southampton. That one starts at 2.15pm.