Many unhappy returns. On his first ever match back in Italy as a visiting manager, Antonio Conte suffered his joint-worst defeat as Chelsea manager, as they were smashed 3-0 by a rampant Roma in a dismal performance that will give him an awful lot to ponder.
It was also a first defeat for an English side in Europe this season, but could really have been a whole lot worse, especially as they also got a huge let-off due to events in Spain. Atletico Madrid could only draw 1-1 at home against 10-man Qarabag, meaning Chelsea will actually qualify with a win in Baku in the next match. They will have to considerably improve on this shambles, though, especially with Manchester United to come on Sunday.
Even if the night was not that bad due to Atletico’s result, this match itself was awful for Chelsea from start to finish.
The supreme Stephan El Shaarawy scored the opening goal after just 39 seconds, and if that spectacular strike was admittedly the best moment of the game, it just got worse and worse for Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger was also back at his former home, but seemed as if on unfamiliar ground, as he didn’t know where he was in stepping up for 37 minutes to let El Shaarawy in for the second. He was far from the only player culpable, and that might not have even been the worst error for the game, as calamity ran right through the team. They just looked tired and thereby suffered a torrid evening.
Alvaro Morata was ineffective up front, Eden Hazard was inefficient and the midfield of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas was again totally overrun. How they miss N’Golo Kante, although that still shouldn’t explain how Fabregas so sloppily missed a tackle for when Diego Perotti scored a brilliant third on 63 minutes.
The disarray that they had descended into was perhaps best displayed moments after that, though, when three Chelsea players somehow trailed man-of-the-match Edin Dzeko as he burst through on goal to leave Perotti totally unmarked.