Big Big Win!
Chelsea travelled to Bucharest to play Atletico in the 1st Leg of the Round of 16 tie in the Champions League. Chelsea return to London with their first away win in the knockout stage of the Champions League since 2012. It was a big game especially after the Southampton result because that put a stop on the momentum we had created. It wasn’t a loss but it felt like 2 points lost. Atletico flying high in La Liga this season is great for them but they had slown down in recent weeks and so Chelsea had a great chance to get a big win. Tuchel went with a trusted side with Mendy starting in goal, Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger made up the back 3. Hudson-Odoi returned at wing-back with Alonso starting on the left. Kovacic, and Jorginho continued in the middle and Mount started behind Werner and Giroud. A strong team, a predicted team and Chelsea were ready to go.
The start was a bit shaky for Chelsea as there were some sloppy passes at the back by the defenders and Mendy. Atletico pressed from the front for around 2 minutes but then decided to sit back and defend with 6 and sometimes 9 players. The first half ended as many Chelsea first half’s have ended with Chelsea dominating possession and play but lacking that final pass in front of goal. Chelsea went closest with Werner but Oblak made the necessary saves. The 2nd half was much of the same but Chelsea got the goal in the 68th minute as Hermoso blocked the ball back into Giroud’s path and he overhead kick the ball into the goal. It took VAR 3 minutes to decide whether the ball came off of Mount, or Hermoso and it was Hermoso. Simeone then chucked on all his possible attackers but Chelsea were comfortable and they kept a clean sheet.
Chelsea Team Review
Another clean sheet for Mendy in a game that Atletico had 0 shots on target. There was some nervous passing and on the ball play from the goalkeeper but no harm done.
All three defenders were solid at the back. Azpilicueta was probably the best of the 3 but I would also give Christensen some massive credit. The Dane has stepped up in place of Thiago Silva and he has done really well over the last few games. A mature performance form him. Alonso was ok but I can’t help but feel that if Chilwell is in this team we create more with his left foot. Hudson-Odoi in this case was a defender and he did pretty well. That doubt about him should go away and it was a good shift from the youngster. Reece James did come on in the 2nd half and he did well to see out the game.
Kovacic, and Jorginho were good. Jorginho could have done way better with his passing in this game and he probably let Chelsea down with his final balls. A Fabregas in that position would have caused some havoc. Mount was lively and brilliant in this game, probably deserved an assist and his pressing led to Hermoso passing it back to Oblak for the goal. Ziyech came on for the 2nd half and he was decent while Havertz also got a couple of minutes and he looked lively. Kante came on as well and he did well to keep up the pressing.
Werner was good during the game and probably deserved a goal for the work that he did. Giroud was his amazing self and that one moment of brilliance is what top quality players can offer. The Frenchman continues to be a trusty source for every manager. Pulisic did come in the final few minutes but there was little time to make any impact.
Tuchel get’s a big win for Chelsea away from home in a game that he tactically outclassed Simeone. Of course it’s just the first of a two leg tie and the job is only half done but an away goal affords Chelsea some strength in the 2nd leg. Like Tuchel said the win is great but we need to now move on to United and then Liverpool and then Leeds and so on.
It’s a good way to start a tough run for Chelsea, the players can hopefully feel encouraged by this result and trust in what they are doing. Beating the top team in La Liga is no small feat. Next up is a visit from Manchester United and it is another big game. COME ON CHELSEA!!!