London and Paris are fast becoming twin cities, but when it comes to football the English are now the masters. Chelsea so outclassed PSG on Tuesday night that it was practically embarrassing.
Better in every position, the London side may have to wait until February and the second round of the Champions League before they get any sense of how they measure up against serious European clubs. Meanwhile, we may be in the unique position that the two strongest sides in Europe are both from London.
PSG were not only thumped, but also had their full mediocrity exposed. Worse, the sentence was executed by their arch enemy, the former Marseilles striker Didier Drogba.
Not once did the Parisians discomfort the Chelsea defenders, who held the line 30 yards from their goal, and, led by John Terry, passed comfortably among each other as if Parisian forwards did not exist. Pauleta, the home side's notional centre forward, moved as if in slow motion.
Chelsea's inevitable lead came on the half hour. Lionel Letizi, PSG's occasional goalkeeper, let a straight forward corner from Frank Lampard waft through his hands, and Terry headed home. The PSG players, already struggling at 14th in the French league, glared and shouted at each other.
Then Drogba entered the game. He had grown up in the Paris region, and once almost joined PSG for a negligible fee, but as he bravely told the French press before this game, he always supported PSG's arch rivals Olympique Marseilles and indeed played for them before joining Chelsea this summer. Accordingly, when the speaker announced his name before the match, the home crowd howled with rage.
The Ivorian had seemed subdued until the stroke of half-time. Then Joe Cole, with one of his many delightful passes of the night, sent Mateja Kezman through on poor Letizi. The keeper saved, but the ball fell to Drogba's feet, and from 20 yards he rolled it into the corner of the net. That effectively ended the match. The Chelsea fans' inevitable half-time chants - "Are you Tottenham in disguise?" - was harsh on Spurs.
In the second half, at home and two goals down, PSG could never muster an offensive. The final humiliation came after 74 minutes. Just outside the PSG penalty area, Helder fouled, or at least tried to foul, Kezman, who had been much too quick for him all night. Drogba, taking the free kick, had no need for anything fancy. He simply hit the ball straight through the poorly positioned PSG wall for his second goal.
Six minutes later he was substituted to more howls from the crowd. He entertained himself by leaving the field as slowly as possible while applauding them.
Asked about PSG's performance, their coach Vahid Halilhodzic, said simply: "I am ashamed."
One hopes that Chelsea's next opponents in the Champions League, FC Porto and CSKA Moscow, give them more of a test. This may be too much to hope for given that even in Europe's richest domestic league, the Premiership, hardly anybody seems capable of that.
* Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson marked his return to Celtic with his side's third goal in a 3-1 win against the Scottish champions. Celtic fought back after Deco's 19th-minute strike gave Barca a deserved lead at the break. Celtic goalkeeper David Marshall stopped Ronaldinho's 55th-minute penalty and made several other fine saves before substitute Chris Sutton brought Celtic level on 59 minutes. But Ludovic Giuly's deflected 77th-minute goal knocked the stuffing out of the home side before Larsson finished them off.
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