A rotated Chelsea side stepped out into Stamford Bridge on a windy London night to face Maribor in the first of back-to-back Champions League games against the Slovenian side.
Chelsea did not waste any time in taking control of this tie and started very lively. When Chelsea skipper John Terry picked up a loose ball on the half-way line, he played a well-timed through ball for Loic Remy. With Diego Costa out injured, the Frenchman was given the chance to prove himself. He showed his worth by cutting in from the right, before placing a well taken shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area after 13 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he injured himself in the process and was substituted moments later, with Didier Drogba coming on as his replacement.
Less than ten minutes later Chelsea were awarded a controversial penalty. When Willian cut in from the left wing, his attempted cross struck the hand of Maribor’s Mertelj from only yards away. Up stepped none other than Didier Drogba and the Ivorian struck home from the penalty spot.
Maribor were failing to threaten Petr Cech, who had taken Courtois’ place between the sticks, only managing a few long range shots – Chelsea were upping the gear and looking very comfortable.
Chelsea caught Maribor on a counter attacking following a poor corner from the visitors. Hazard picked the ball up on the half-way line and drove at the Maribor defence. As he approached the edge of the area the Belgium winger played a delicate pass to the overlapping Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas played a low driven pass across the face of the box to a surprise scorer in John Terry. The Chelsea captain, who had ran the length of the pitch to join in with the counter attack, looked marginally offside, but the goal stood.
Chelsea started the second-half where they left off and their persistent paid off. After some tidy footwork from Filipe Luis in the 53rd minute put him into the Maribor box, he drove in a low pass which found Eden Hazard at the far post. Hazard delayed the shot and played the ball back across goal, which was deflected off of Maribor’s Viler into his own net.
A clumsy tackle from Nemanja Matic gave Maribor a chance from the spot in the 63rd minute. Ibraimi stepped up, Cech went the right way, but the Maribor man dragged it wide and struck the post. This was one of few chances Maribor had of scoring a consolation goal, however, it remained 4-0.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Chelsea handed a Champions League debut to 17-year-old Dominic Solanke; a forward who is highly regarded as one for the future at Stamford Bridge.
Moments later, Willian nearly made it five – a powerful run through the centre of the pitch opened up space for the Brazilian. He unleashed a powerful strike, only for it to rattle the crossbar.
A third penalty of the night was given in the 76th minute. As Branislav Ivanovic jinked his way into the penalty area, he was brought down by a somewhat tired tackle. Eden Hazard stepped up and calmly slotted home with ease.
Eden Hazard rounded off the night with just minutes to play. A long range pass from youngster Nathan Ake landed perfectly at the Belgian’s feet, who took it under control excellently. He turned inside and out, before smashing the ball poast the Maribor keeper with his right foot. Six for Chelsea – the club’s biggest ever Champions League win.
Ultimately the opposition were poor and, besides the penalty, failed to threaten Chelsea. The Blues, however, had an air of ruthlessness in their performance, creating chances at will and could have easily scored a couple more. Nevertheless, a great confidence booster to take into Sunday’s game against Manchester United.