Chelsea 2 vs. 1 Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Review

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!

Chelsea took on Brazilian team Palmeiras at the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. It was Chelsea’s 2nd appearance in the competition’s final after losing in 2012 while Palmeiras were making their first appearance. A win for either team would have been their first. Palmeiras had the same team as predicted with Dudu, Rony, Scarpa, and Veiga all starting up front. The majority of the fans in the stadium were Palmeiras fans mostly because Brazilian teams really cherish the Club World Cup. There was decent Chelsea support as well and the Blues knew the importance of winning this trophy because it would complete the set. Tuchel selected Mendy in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi started as the wing backs with Havertz, Mount and Lukaku playing up top. A strong lineup. 

The first half was pretty straight forward. Chelsea had two thirds of the possession but Palmeiras’s low block meant that very few chances were created. Palmeiras on the other hand had some very good chances on the counter attack. Mount had to come off in the first half after hurting his ankle and was replaced by Pulisic. Pulisic’s addition did add some flair to the forward line but there was no breakthrough. 

The first goal came in the 54th minute as Hudson-Odoi put a brilliant cross into the box and Lukaku rose highest to head the ball into the net. A goal in a big final and Lukaku earned back respect last night. Chelsea though could not find that finishing goal though and Veiga scored a penalty to equalise in the 64th minute. Thiago Silva had tried to head a ball away but it his hand and obstructed play. Neither team could find a winner in regular time as the game went to extra time.

In extra time Palmeiras just sat back and defended while Chelsea tried to throw the kitchen sink at their defence. The breakthrough came late with Azpilicueta volleying a shot towards goal and it hit defender Luan on the hand. After a short VAR check the penalty was given. Azpilicueta took the ball and cleverly took all the intimidation given to him by the Palmeiras players following which he handed the ball to Havertz to take the actual penalty. Kai Havertz stepped up and just like he did to win Chelsea the Champions League he scored the winner to win the club the World Cup. Havertz was then brought down late in the game after being through on goal and Luan was sent off with a straight red card. Full time and Chelsea were champions of the world. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Mendy returned to goal in this game. There were a few saves he had to make and the penalty is always a 50/50. Apart form that it was a good outing and he adds another trophy to his cabinet. Both Kepa and Mendy got game time and did brilliantly.

Defenders

The whole defence was very good. Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to win every single trophy at the club. An absolute legendary captain for the club and one of the legends of the game for sure. Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger were also solid at the back. Sarr came on in extra time when Chelsa switched to a back four. 

Midfielders

Kovacic and Kante started as the midfield two. Kovacic was very good for much of the game. Kante played the whole game but for me had a mixed performance. In patches he was great but sometimes he was caught out. Mount looked good until he had to come off and hopefully the injury isn’t serious. Saul came on late in the game to liven up the midfield. 

Forwards

Havertz was very good and played the whole game. He scored the winning penalty and exhibted great nerves in such a pressure situation. It should be the boost needed for him to kick on in the 2nd half of the season. Lukaku also made it two goals in two games and scored a powerful header. His first trophy with Chelsea and it again should help him kick on and score more goals. Hudson-Odoi played as a wing back and got an assist but overall had an ok performance. Pulisic was impactful when he came on and showed real hunger. Hopefully the American can get a run of games. Ziyech and Werner also came on and did well to create chances and stretch the Palmeiras defence. 

Manager

Tuchel finally made it for the game and was in the dugout for the final. It was great to see. I think the most clever thing Tuchel did over the two games was give most of the squad game time. He made everyone feel involved and like they contributed to the trophy. A third trophy at the club in a year and hopefully many more to come. 

Chelsea completed football last night and Abramovich was on hand to witness the missing piece of the puzzle. Again, this is the beginning of a new era and if Tuchel continues to get the backing Chelsea will only get better. Next up is a visit to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Palmeiras Club World Cup Final Preview

Massive final for Chelsea!

Chelsea will take on Brazilian team Palmeiras in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup final on Saturday. Palmeiras beat Al Ahly 2-0 in their semi-final and will have several thousands of fans in the stadium supporting them. Chelsea seem to have the rest of Brazil supporting them so I guess it’s not that bad for the Blues. This is the teams first outing in the Club World Cup and their first appearance in the final. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Al-Hilal 0-1 on Wednesday. It was a close game but Chelsea pulled through thanks to a goal from Lukaku in the 1st half. Chelsea will be playing their 2nd Club World Cup final having lost the first one to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2012. It is is the only trophy that is missing from the cabinet at Chelsea and if the Blues win it they would have completed the set of all available trophies to an English Premier League club. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea have the full squad available with the only exceptions beind Reece James and Ben Chilwell. Mendy is back in training and was on the bench against Al-Hilal. Kepa has been outstanding while Mendy has been at AFCON. Some would say that the Spaniard deserves to start in the final but I would say start Mendy. Fans are fickle and if a long range effort went in that Kepa could not save then everyone would blame him. Chelsea are blessed with two goalkeepers that are high on confidence so start Mendy and bring Kepa on if the game goes to penalties which hopefully it does not.

Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger should start in defence while I would start Azpiicueta and Sarr as the wing backs. Christensen and Alonso could start but I would be worried with Alonso and his lack of pace against Brazilians. Jorginho and Kovacic should start in midfield with a front three of Havertz, Lukaku and Ziyech. I personally would start Havertz ahead of Lukaku and bring in Mount but I doubt the Belgian will get dropped. The front three did well against Al-Hilal and I think the wingers should keep their place. Again Chelsea could go with a back four as well in which case we could see Mount come in for one of the centre backs. It should be a strong lineup regardless.

Palmeiras Team Preview

Palmeiras just began their new season this year. Last season their top scorer was Veiga while Rony and Willian also finished with 10+ goals. Scarpa was their highest creator with 20 assists last season. This season having played five games Dudu is their highest goal scorer with three goals. Veiga has the most assists with three. I wouldn’t say I know much about Palmeiras but they are a strong and pacy team that love attacking. Weverton should be their goalkeeper with a back four of Rocha, Gomez, Luan, and Piquerez. Danilo and Ze Rafael should make up their midfield with Dudu, Veiga, and Scarpa starting up front behind Rony who is their striker. The front four by all means look lethal and that is where the danger lies with Palmeiras. Abel Fereira is their manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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This trophy means a lot for Chelsea fans. These players would be making history if they won it for the first time for the club. There seems to be welcome news that Thomas Tuchel might make it for the final which will be great for the whole team. Palmeiras won’t be an easy team by any means and their fans will be as vocal as ever, but Chelsea know what they need to do. The most important thing is to be clinical in front of goal. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Al-Hilal 0 vs. 1 Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Review

Onto the final!

Chelsea took on Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal on Wednesday night in Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup semi-final. The winner of the game would seal place in the final alongside Brazilian team Palmeiras. Al-Hilal picked a strong team with Marega, Pereira, and Ighalo all starting. Chelsea selected Kepa in goal with a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta and Alonso started as the wing backs with a midfield of Kovacic, and Jorginho. Havertz, Ziyech and Lukaku started up front. A strong lineup by both teams as they looked to reach the final.

Al-Hilal started well but Chelsea grew into the game in the first half. Chelsea had several good chances in the first half but the final finish was missing as usual. Al-Hilal didn’t have a shot on target for much of the first 45. The only goal of the game came in the 32nd minute as Havertz did well to dribble and put in a cross which fell into the path of Lukaku who smashed it into goal. The Belgian improved as the half went on but Chelsea failed to double the lead.

Al-Hilal came out to play for the 2nd half and grew back into the game. They got several corners and began to test Kepa. Kepa made a particularly brilliant save late on that kept Chelsea in the lead. Chelsea did hold on for the win though and will now play the final on Saturday.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

A cleansheet for Kepa as his redemption season continues to go well. It was a brilliant save late in the game and it is a testament to his quality that Chelsea have not missed Mendy. Another very good game for him.

Defenders

All the defenders did pretty well. Christensen made a particularly good challenge in the 2nd half to deny a counter. Rudiger handled Ighalo well. Silva was his calm self while Azpilicueta and Alonso were decent as the wing backs. Sarr came on in the 2nd half for Alonso to see out the game.

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic did really well in the 1st half. Jorginho had to come off at half time and that did impact the fluidity with which Chelsea passed in the midfield. Kante came on in his place but didn’t have his usual impact. Mount came on in the 2nd half as well to add some bite and threat. Kovacic had a very good all round game and played some brilliant passes as well. 

Forwards

The forwards all did relatively well in this game. Havertz was a constant threat and his movement seemed to allow Lukaku to play better. Havertz should have scored but he hit the post. Ziyech again and had an influential game as he continues to enjoy game time at the moment. Lukaku began the game poorly and missed a chance from point blank range. His goal was a poachers one and he was more involved following the lead. Some good linkup play and a constant threat. 

Manager

Zsolt Low was taking care of the management side while Tuchel contnues to isolate in London. Tuchel though delievered the half time team talk and would have liked that the team kept a clean sheet. We should have been more clinical in front of goal though. Final no 5 for the German at Chelsea though.

Chelsea will play the final against Palmeiras on Saturday night. It is bound to be a big game for the club. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Al-Hilal vs. Chelsea Club World Cup Semi-Final Preview

Another trophy to win!

Chelsea will take part in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday as they take on Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal. The londoners have been in Abu Dhabi for the last few days and have had a mid season camp of sorts with warm weather training. The Club World Cup is no friendly tournament though and Chelsea have lost the final once before in 2013. Al-Hilal are the opposition and are managed by former Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. 

Al-Hilal have won four of their last five games and beat Al Jazira 6-1 to get into the semi-final. They are in no way a team to take lightly for Chelsea and it seems that Tuchel and the players know that. Tuchel himself won’t be present for this game as he continues to isolate in London. Chelsea are hoping that he might make it for the final or 3rd placed game. 

Chelsea go into this game having beaten Plymouth Argyle at the weekend. It wasn’t the greatest of games and it took 120 minutes for Chelsea to get past the Championship team. The Blues were not poor but it was another game where there was no cutting edge up front. The only attacking player that seemed to play the whole game at a good level was Hakim Ziyech. The winger continues to thrive in Chelsea’s formation switch. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will have Edouard Mendy back in the fold after he was crowned an Africa Cup of Nations champions with Senegal on Sunday. It is yet to be seen whether he will start the game though. For safety I will say Kepa will probably start. Mount was also touch and go but has returned to training recently. Chelsea should revert to a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger for this game. Hudson-Odoi, and Sarr should start as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Kante in midfield. Mount, Ziyech, and Havertz should start up front. 

Tuchel could of course start with a back four with Sarr probably starting on the left but Al-Hilal are a pacy team with plenty of attacking talent. I wouldn’t start Lukaku either because he was far from decent at the weekend. There are several options and I think the lineup above could easily transition to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with Chalobah and Sarr playing as full backs. It’s a solid team either way. 

Al-Hilal Team Preview

Al-Maiouf is the goalkeeper with a back four of Abdulhamid, Jang, Al Bulahi, and Al-Shahrani. Kanno, and Cuellar serve as their two sitting midfielders. Up front is where the talent lies in the team. Marega the former FC Porto striker plays as a winger while Pereira who Chelsea fans know all to well from his West Brom days plays as the playmaker. Al-Dawsari plays on the left wing with Ighalo their striker. Ighalo the former Watford and Man United striker has been in fine form this season while all the front four scored against Al Jazira. They have Carrillo on the bench as well. A talented team with a talented manager. 

Starting XI Prediction

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The Club World Cup is the missing link for Chelsea as a club. It is the only trophy we have not one and the hunger for all the players should be real. It won’t be an easy game but if Chelsea play at their best level then we should book a place in the final. COME ON CHELSEA!!!