Europa League - Group L
PAOK Salonika0Chelsea1

Willian's strike helps Chelsea beat PAOK

Willian opens the scoring for Chelsea against PAOK Salonika
Willian has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 starts for Chelsea in European competition - 10 goals, three assists

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said the Europa League could "be a problem" later in the season after his side began their campaign with a 1-0 win at PAOK Salonika.

Willian's early goal from Ross Barkley's lay-off was enough for a much-changed Blues side to maintain their winning start to the season in Greece, despite playing in front of a raucous sold-out crowd in Thessaloniki.

This was Chelsea's first Europa League game since winning the competition in 2013 and the victory - their sixth in a row this season - puts them on three points in Group L alongside BATE Borisov of Belarus, who won 2-0 at Hungarian side Vidi.

The Blues return to Premier League action away to West Ham on Sunday (13:00 BST) before facing Liverpool twice in four days - in the Carabao Cup then the Premier League.

"For an English team the Europa League is a very difficult competition," said Sarri. "In Italy, if I play in Greece on Thursday I can ask to play on Monday night, but I have to play again in 63 hours. I don't know in the future.

"It is not a big problem now because we have played only six matches but in the future it may be a problem. I hope to qualify before the last one or two matches of the group stage."

Hazard rested

Sarri made five changes from Saturday's 4-1 win against Cardiff with Eden Hazard, who Sarri says has complained of tiredness twice in the last month, being rested along with David Luiz and Mateo Kovacic.

Willian came off the bench to seal Saturday's win against Cardiff after Hazard's hat-trick while Barkley was also among those to come into the side.

The former Everton midfielder latched on to a Jorginho pass to burst forward from the centre circle and lay off to the left for captain Willian to sidefoot under the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis.

But while most of the Chelsea players were composed throughout, Alvaro Morata endured a frustrating night after replacing Olivier Giroud up front.

Morata misfiring

Alvaro Morata shoots wide for Chelsea
Alvaro Morata has scored one goal from five starts so far this season

Giroud linked up well with Hazard on Saturday and the way his replacement fared only strengthened the case for Sarri to make the Frenchman his first-choice centre forward.

Giroud is accustomed to squad rotation from his time at Arsenal, while Morata's form in front of goal fluctuated last season and he has only scored once in five starts this term.

Chelsea missed a number of chances to make the scoreline more emphatic and Morata was the biggest culprit. The Spain striker headed wide from a Pedro cross before dragging a left-footed shot wide from Antonio Rudiger's throughball.

And after being unable to keep a sidefoot volley down, Morata blazed over left-footed from the left side of the box.

Pedro should have doubled Chelsea's lead from a 38th-minute counter-attack, firing straight at the keeper after being picked out by Marcos Alonso, and from the resulting corner Morata steered a difficult header wide.

He cut a forlorn figure as he trudged off to be replaced by Giroud on 81 minutes.

"Morata had three or four opportunities, he was unlucky," said Sarri. "I hope in the future I can try to help him, but the confidence comes only with goals. I am not able to give him confidence.

"But I have to say also that for the first time this season he was very ready in the box. He was on the ball, he was active."

Match stats

  • Each of Chelsea's last 10 managers have won their first European game in charge, with Claudio Ranieri the last to fail to do so in September 2000 (0-2 v FC St Gallen).
  • Chelsea have won each of their last four games in the Europa League, a run which includes their final three games in 2012-13 when they won the competition.
  • Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has won all of his group stage games in the Europa League (seven out of seven), keeping five clean sheets in this run.
  • Ross Barkley's assist for Chelsea's goal was his first in club football since April 2017 for Everton against Leicester.
  • PAOK have failed to score in six of their last seven home games in the Europa League.

What's next?

Chelsea visit West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday (13:30 BST) before travelling to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup third round next Wednesday (19:45 BST).

In their next Europa League fixtures on Thursday, 4 October, the Blues host Vidi while PAOK are away to BATE Borisov (both 20:00 BST).


PAOK Salonika

  • 31Paschalakis
  • 20Vieira de Freitas
  • 34Khacheridi
  • 5dos Santos Varela
  • 6Tosca
  • 19WernbloomBooked at 88mins
  • 8da Silveira Júnior
  • 98Rodrigues LimaSubstituted forBiseswarat 82'minutes
  • 28ShakhovSubstituted forPrijovicat 69'minutes
  • 7El KaddouriBooked at 90mins
  • 10PelkasSubstituted forWardaat 62'minutesBooked at 90mins


  • 1Rey
  • 9Prijovic
  • 15Crespo
  • 18Limnios
  • 21Biseswar
  • 74Warda
  • 87Cañas Ruiz-Herrera


  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 21Zappacosta
  • 2RüdigerBooked at 90mins
  • 27Christensen
  • 3AlonsoSubstituted forAzpilicuetaat 66'minutes
  • 7Kanté
  • 5JorginhoSubstituted forFàbregasat 65'minutes
  • 8BarkleyBooked at 90mins
  • 11Pedro
  • 29MorataSubstituted forGiroudat 81'minutes
  • 22Willian


  • 4Fàbregas
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Caballero
  • 15Moses
  • 18Giroud
  • 24Cahill
  • 28Azpilicueta
Alberto Undiano Mallenco

Match Stats

Home TeamPAOK SalonikaAway TeamChelsea
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, PAOK Salonika 0, Chelsea 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, PAOK Salonika 0, Chelsea 1.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.


Omar El Kaddouri (PAOK Salonika) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Delay in match Pedro (Chelsea) because of an injury.

Pedro (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Omar El Kaddouri (PAOK Salonika).


Amr Warda (PAOK Salonika) is shown the yellow card.


Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.


Ross Barkley (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ross Barkley (Chelsea).

Maurício (PAOK Salonika) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


Pontus Wernbloom (PAOK Salonika) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Pedro (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Pontus Wernbloom (PAOK Salonika).

Foul by Ross Barkley (Chelsea).

Vieirinha (PAOK Salonika) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Alexandros Paschalakis.

Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ross Barkley.

Attempt saved. Diego Biseswar (PAOK Salonika) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Maurício with a headed pass.

Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Olivier Giroud.

Attempt missed. Vieirinha (PAOK Salonika) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alin Tosca following a corner.


Substitution, PAOK Salonika. Diego Biseswar replaces Leo Jabá.

Corner, PAOK Salonika. Conceded by Ross Barkley.

Corner, PAOK Salonika. Conceded by Kepa Arrizabalaga.


Substitution, Chelsea. Olivier Giroud replaces Álvaro Morata.

Álvaro Morata (Chelsea).

Pontus Wernbloom (PAOK Salonika) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Chelsea. Cesc Fàbregas tries a through ball, but Álvaro Morata is caught offside.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Vieirinha.

Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leo Jabá (PAOK Salonika).

Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Dangerous play by N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

Alin Tosca (PAOK Salonika) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ross Barkley.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Fernando Lopes dos Santos Varela.


Substitution, PAOK Salonika. Aleksandar Prijovic replaces Evgen Shakhov.

Offside, Chelsea. Pedro tries a through ball, but Álvaro Morata is caught offside.


As It Stood


1B Leverkusen11003213
4AEK Larnaca100101-10


1RB Salzburg11003213
3RB Leipzig100123-10


1Slavia Prague11001013
2Zenit St Petersburg10101101
3FC Copenhagen10101101


1Dinamo Zagreb11004133
2Spartak Trnava11001013


3Vorskla Poltava100124-20
4FK Qarabag100102-20


1AC Milan11001013
3Real Betis10100001
4F91 Dudelange100101-10


1Rapid Vienna11002023
4Spartak Moscow100102-20


3Apollon Limassol100112-10


2KRC Genk11002023
3Sarpsborg 08100113-20
4Malmö FF100102-20


2FK Krasnodar11001013
4Standard Liege100115-40


2FC Astana10102201
3Dynamo Kiev10102201
4FK Jablonec100112-10


1BATE Borisov11002023
3PAOK Salonika100101-10
4MOL Vidi100102-20
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