Sunday 17 December 2017

Five things we learned Chelsea's win over PSG on penalties: Jose Mourinho has cause for concern

Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal from a penalty
Action Images via Reuters / Chris Keane
Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal from a penalty Action Images via Reuters / Chris Keane Livepic

John Percy

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will be concerned over Chelsea's form despite their victory over PSG in a penalty shootout in Charlotte.

1) Radamel Falcao already looks sharper than he did at Manchester United

Twenty minutes from time in Chelsea's win over Paris St-Germain on penalties, Falcao made his first appearance for the London club since his surprise loan move from Monaco. He joins Chelsea after a hugely disappointing campaign at Manchester United with many critics already fearing he could be another Fernando Torres or Andriy Shevchenko. But even in this 20-minute cameo Falcao did enough to suggest he could prove a shrewd signing by Mourinho. There was a swagger and sharpness rarely seen at United and he had the look of a man on a mission. He is expected to start in Tuesday’s friendly against Barcelona in Washington and this was an encouraging start.

Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhosvies with Chelsea's Radamel Falcao during an International Champions Cup football match in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMMNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be a welcome addition to the Premier League

Zlatan was at his preening, imperious best in the Bank of America Stadium, drifting in and out of the game at his own pace and scoring PSG's goal. He was also involved in an ugly clash with John Terry, when he appeared to elbow the Chelsea skipper in the first half. There can be no doubt, however, that he would hold his own in England if he was to complete a surprise move to the Premier League. Manchester United have been linked with the Swedish superstar and there are few rival clubs that could even contemplate signing such a highly paid player. It may be a pipe dream, and certainly a costly one, but Ibrahimovic would not look out of place.

Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, pulls down Chelsea's Nemanja Matic, right, during the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, July 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

3) This was anything but a meaningless friendly

PSG - Paris Saint-Germain vs Chelsea Football Club Highlights - 2015 International Champions CupSuper Highlights

Posted by Super Highlights on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Few Chelsea supporters will forget the two gorefests against PSG in the Champions League last season and this was proof that the bad blood still lingers. The game was only 40 seconds old when Diego Costa collided with young PSG defender Serge Aurier, with American referee Ted Unkel called in to prevent a full-scale melee. Aurier later exacted revenge and there were other suspect tackles; a flailing elbow from Ibrahimovic on Terry, and a degree of niggle rarely seen in friendlies. At least it provided the game with a sorely needed edge.

Paris Saint-Germain's Serge Aurier, back, shoves Chelsea's Diego Costa, front, after being fouled during the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, July 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

 4) Angel Di Maria will make PSG genuine Champions League contenders

PSG have been the French champions for three consecutive seasons and possess a squad packed with world-class talent. From the influential Ibrahimovic to the menacing Lucas Moura and emerging players such as Marco Verratti and Jean-Kevin Augustin, PSG have the players to make their mark in the Champions League. The anticipated arrival of flight-dodging attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria from United, for a fee of around £45 million, will make them even stronger. Like Falcao, Di Maria will have a point to prove and Laurent Blanc can only benefit.

Angel di Maria looks to be closing in on a move to PSG

 5) Does Jose Mourinho need to be concerned by results and performances?

Yes, it was only a showpiece game for the International Champions Cup. And yes, results are undoubtedly irrelevant until the serious business starts. But for about an hour of this game last season’s champions looked sluggish, devoid of any fluency and defensively fragile. Jose Mourinho said ahead of this game that all results are “fake” at this stage of the pre-season - yet the curtain-raiser against Swansea is only a fortnight away. Only Mourinho and his coaching staff can judge whether there are concerns over Chelsea’s displays but the final 25 minutes suggested they are now getting into their stride.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho speaks during a press conference in Montreal, Canada on July 21, 2015. Mourinho has backed Didier Drogba to make a success of a move to Major League Soccer after reports linking the Blues legend to a career swansong in North America. Several MLS teams are reportedly in the hunt for Drogba, with the Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire the front-runners after opening talks with the 37-year-old Ivory Coast striker. AFP PHOTO/CLEMENT SABOURINClement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images

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