Chelsea were heavily beaten by 3-0 AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night at the Stadio Olimpico, with Antonio Conte’s men looking a shadow of their current form.
The Blues' performance on Italian soil showed all was not well with the Stamford Bridge side, as they continued to make defensive errors which were punished by the hosts.
Two goals by Stephan El Shaarawy and one by Diego Perotti – who could and probably should have had a second – ended Chelsea’s unbeaten run in this year’s Champions League competition.
Off the pace from the beginning
Things started well for Chelsea, when Pedro was freed up in the opening 25 seconds of the game, however, he was tackled which led to a quick counter-attack.
From the resulting attack, Roma took the lead through El Shaarawy after he managed to place the ball beyond an on-rushing Thibault Courtois and scored the quickest goal of the tournament so far in 39 seconds.
The Italian forward had not finished there, when he latched onto a ball that was poorly defended by the returning Antonio Rudiger as the winger stole in double the advantage in the 36th minute, again leaving the goalkeeper without any chance of making the save.
It was a first-half Chelsea would want to forget quickly as the Serie A side dominated and things did not get better for the Londoners in the second half.
More of the same
Chelsea continued to struggle to come to terms with the Italians as they looked to continue to dominate the tie.
Conte looked to make things happen by substituting Gary Cahill for Willian as he looked for more attacking prowess, however, they still failed to test Allison in the Roma goal.
As they continued to make errors in the middle of the park, Perotti capitalised on a mistake made by Cesc Fabregas.
The Spaniard was under no pressure and played a stray ball to Radja Nainggolan, who worked it forward to the Argentina international who released an impressive shot from 25 yards that beat Courtois comfortably.
Roma then had the chance to add further damage with the attacker firing a shot first-time over the bar after great build-up play from Edin Dzeko.
The Blues were fortunate on a number of occasions to not concede another goal, with Greek defender Kostas Manolas having a powerful header stopped by Courtois, who reacted quickly.
Chelsea was completely outclassed and dominated by their Italian opponents and never looked as if they were to challenge them, even after they conceded the goals they had.
Conte will be hoping that the result and the performance is not a preview to come, with his team facing a Manchester United side featuring a returning Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.