With an inspired Karim Benzema and a masterclass from Federico Valverde, Real Madrid has part of the ticket for the Champions League semi-final.
It might be a lethal blow for Chelsea, but сan they turn this around?
Chelsea has not been the same for some time. The weekend before the Champions League game they lost 1-4 against Brentford at Stamford Bridge. Not a great way to enter the European week, and if you add that Karim Benzema entered the «Cristiano Zone» it brewed the perfect storm.
During the football calendar, there is this part where you can win it all or lose it all. Remember the Arsenal Invincibles? Well, even though they won the Premier League without a single defeat, in a week they have fallen apart. Out of the Champions League and the FA Cup. Funnily enough, it was in April and Chelsea kicked them out but that’s another story.
Ancelotti Learned From His Mistakes
The reigning Champions have a lot of work to do if they want to make history. In Madrid, they say that 90 minutes at Bernabeu are “molto longo” (except if you’re Barcelona). If I have to place a bet that the Blues are going to do it, I’ll go to https://bookmaker-ratings.com/ where I can see exactly how the odds are playing on different sites, and put a smart bet.
Tuchel needs to turn things around. Ancelotti learned from their previous encounter and dominated the midfield where Chelsea is very strong with the presence of N’golo Kante. Federico Valverde was the key to diminishing that strength. And when he took the ball, he distributed it with a lot of patience and understanding.
The Champions of Europe will need to find themselves again and create more chances. At Stamford Bridge, they had some very important ones.
Lukaku could have scored, but he missed an open goal opportunity. The Belgian has not been the same since he said he missed Italy.
Three goals for victory, and it’s not impossible, since Barcelona scored four not long ago. Chelsea has arguments to do one of the most amazing comebacks in football history.
Players Like Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisc, and N’golo Kanté need to step up and again be important to Tuchel’s tactics. They need to dominate the possession and the midfield, Ancelotti might give a little bit more terrain to Tuchel. Madrid will wait for counterattacks, where Vinicius and Benzema are decisive.
Edouard Mendy has to shake his mistake off. After the goal he received, his confidence was shaken, and it affected the whole team, which did not want to risk more balls.
For the meeting in Spain this week, the Senegalese have to be the keeper that we know he could be. The one that surprised the world and made him one of the best keepers on the planet.
Can They Do It?
Yes. It’s very difficult (ask PSG) but not impossible. Chelsea has the manpower and football to pull a comeback. Real Madrid is going to get stronger in their stadium, but their football is not spectacular (ask Xavi)
They rely on Benzema who is playing on Ballon d’Or level, but if you see Kroos, he is far from being good. They commit a lot of fouls and defend horribly on free kicks.
Courtois had to make a lot of interventions at Stamford Bridge. It’s going to be a dog fight for Chelsea. If Chelsea scores one quick goal things are going to get pretty intense.
Who are you rooting for: history or walk in the park for Los Blancos?