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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!