English woes in Europe continue
By Niall Clarke
- Chelsea suffer a 2-1 defeat away at Porto
- Arsenal lose 3-2 at home to Olympiacos
- English clubs suffer five defeats in six games in the Champions League
The bad start to the Champions League group stages for English clubs continues as Chelsea and Arsenal slump to defeats in match day two.
Jose Mourinho’s return to his former club Porto was unsuccessful as his Chelsea side continued to struggle. The Blues were defeated 2-1 at FC Porto.
It was an even worse night for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger’s side suffered a second straight defeat in the Champions league with a 3-2 loss at home to Olympiacos.
FC Porto 1-2 Chelsea
After struggling domestically, Chelsea started their Champions League campaign with a 4-0 home victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Premier League champions travelled to Porto looking to make it two wins out of two in Europe, but instead they would fall the way of their domestic form.
With Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic dropped to the bench, many wondered why the struggling Branislav Ivanovic was also not watching on from the side lines. The fears of his recent form came to the forefront in the opening goal.
Yacine Brahimi proved to be a terror down the right flank, and he beat Ivanovic before forcing a save from goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Andre Andre- So good they named him twice- pounced on the rebound to give the Portuguese side the advantage.
Willian-one of Chelsea’s rare bright sparks this season- would level right on half time with a free kick that left Iker Casillas routed to the spot.
After the break Porto would re-stablish their goal advantage. Once again the once formidable Chelsea defence was unlocked by Brahimi who earned a corner. The result was a header from captain Maicon that glanced past Begovic.
Chelsea pressed for an equaliser. Diego Costa came close by hitting the wood-work. The Spaniard had a penalty shout for handball turned down, maybe his reputation proceeded him.
In the end it was not to be a Blue day, instead the Dragons would breathe more fire onto the already burning Chelsea team.
Arsenal 2-3 Olympiacos
After a shocker in Zagreb, Arsenal were looking to bounce back at home against a team that had never won on English soil, Olympiacos.
The Greeks were in good form domestically however, and they took a shock lead just after the half hour mark. Felipe Pardo’s 25 yard effort took a wicked deflection past David Ospina.
It was a sucker punch to the Gunners who had controlled the opening proceedings, but they soon corrected themselves when Theo Walcott slotted past Roberto.
After the equaliser The Emirates sensed victory. Their side was in control and had the momentum of a goal of their side. What they would get instead would be a calamitous error. Much was made of the decision to not play Petr Cech for this one, and it would be his replacement that made the crucial drop. Ospina failed to control the corner and bundled the ball over the line. It was controversial as replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball actually did cross the line, however the fifth official ruled it did and Arsenal were behind again.
The Gunners pressed on for an equaliser, and who else but Alexis Sanchez would get the Emirates stadium rocking again. The Chilean was left unmarked to header the ball home.
The heightened sense of a potential turn around was quickly silenced seconds later. Immediately the Greek champions hit back. Fortounis played a quite superb chip in to Pardo and his cross was clipped in by substitute Finnbogason for the winner.
Arsenal pressed on, but could not break down a stubborn Greek defence, and the Emirates was nearly empty before the final whistle even blew.
The sound signalled a second straight Champions League defeat, and leaves Arsenal bottom of their group with two games against Bayern Munich impending. Their chances look bleak.
M. Tel-Aviv 0- 2 Dynamo Kyiv
Zenit 2-1 Gent
Bayern Munich 5-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Barcelona 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Porto 2-1 Chelsea
Lyon 0-1 Valencia
BATE 3- 2 Roma
Arsenal 2-3 Olympiacos
The Champions League continues tomorrow with the Manchester clubs in action.