Analysing the line-ups, you can tell there hasn't actually been such a vast change of personnel.
Last night’s loss for Chelsea was portrayed as the big shock in the opening games in the Champions League.
More so, perhaps, because it wasn’t so long ago since Chelsea met Basel in the second leg of the semi-final of the Europa League. That was 2nd May, four months and 16 days later.
Has a lot changed in that time? Well Chelsea have certainly changed manager, but let’s have a look at the personnel of the side.
Chelsea’s line-up v Basel in the Europa League: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Hazard, Torres.
And last night in the Champions League: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Cahill, Lampard, Oscar, Van Ginkel, Hazard, Willian, Eto’o.
Six of the players that played in the Europa League semi-final win played in last night’s Champions League defeat, plus Ashley Cole was available for last night’s game and not the game in May because of an injury. Oscar also featured in the Europa League clash a substitute.
Basel’s line-up v Chelsea in the Europa League: Sommer, Voser, Schar, Sauro, Steinhofer, Geoffroy, Stocker, F Frei, Salah, El-Nenny, Streller.
And last night in the Champions League: Sommer, Ivanov, Voser, Schar, Safari, Stocker, F Frei, Mercelo Diaz, Salah, Streller, Giovanni Sio.
There were only four changes to the Basel line-up.
Of course the context of the game was a bit different, Chelsea were on the brink of major European final in May and fell behind to a goal but managed to dig in to win the tie, whereas last night manager Jose Mourinho questioned the side’s bottle and maturity.
The system played wasn’t a million miles away from what was adopted by Rafa Benitez in May, all be it there were a few personnel changes, and David Luiz was played in a midfield role.
There was much of that still remaining however, and at an average of nearly 28 it is a side that doesn’t lack maturity, and given the experiences of last season they certainly don’t lack bottle.
Maybe, just maybe, Basel aren’t getting enough credit for their performance. After it all it wasn’t the first time they have upset English opposition, and their equalising goal last night was wonderful to watch.
Or here is the other option, Mourinho might have got it wrong?
image: © Crystian Cruz