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Chelsea 2-0 Atletico Madrid

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Man of the Match  

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  1. 1. Who is your Man of the Match?

    • Mendy
    • James
    • Azpilicueta
    • Zouma
    • Rudiger
    • Alonso
    • Kante
    • Kovacic
    • Ziyech
    • Havertz
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    • Hudson-Odoi (sub)
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    • Emerson (sub)
    • Chilwell (sub)

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Simeone cry me a river. 😂Moaning about elbow into Rudi - remember your tangle with Beckham ? karma mate, karma. 

It's almost as if rotating him adequately and sparing his energy for suitable games was the way forward.

7 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Cannot believe this stat!


That's really shocking. Considering we barely beat Benfica in the rematch in 2012 with a last gasp Meireles stunner, the Atletico tie is statistically our best CL knockout performance ever, lol.

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Cox: Chelsea are wily, awkward and flexible under Tuchel – they’re serious contenders


Olivier Giroud’s magnificent bicycle kick for the only goal in Chelsea’s first-leg victory over Atletico Madrid last month was a brilliant piece of skill, a crucial away goal — and, sadly for the Frenchman, confirmation that he would be dropped for the second leg.

For the contest at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s gameplan was different entirely. Atletico, trailing 1-0 from the first leg and needing to score to remain in the tie, were forced to take the initiative, leaving more space at the back than you would expect of a Diego Simeone side. The solid 6-3-1 from the first leg was scrapped in favour of a narrow 4-2-3-1. At long last, Chelsea could play on the break.

Chelsea haven’t often had that liberty under Thomas Tuchel. His first four matches came against Wolves, Burnley, Tottenham and Sheffield United, none of whom are renowned for their insistence upon dominating possession and taking the game to the opposition.

Tuchel’s Chelsea controlled the games but were rarely able to use the speed of their key attacking weapons in behind. Since then the style of their opponents has varied more — Liverpool used a high defensive line, which was exploited ruthlessly, Leeds left space in midfield which Chelsea might have made more of. But this game was different, a game where a draw wasn’t good enough for Chelsea’s opponents, and therefore Tuchel’s side could play more reactively.

Within two minutes it was clear why Werner was in the side. Reece James’ clearance from on the edge of his own six-yard box looked like defending simply hacking the ball to safety — but the sheer speed of Werner meant he turned it into a useful through-ball, and although he couldn’t quite keep inside the field of play with his dribble down the right, that was an early warning sign.



Chelsea’s gameplan was about counter-attacking without losing their own defensive structure. They didn’t throw four, five or six players forward at once — they essentially only ever attacked with three players, often in similar fashion.

Take this early Marcos Alonso shot, for example. Havertz receives the ball in the centre circle and feeds it out to Alonso, the left-wing-back, who motors into the box and then, somewhat wastefully, shoots at the near post when he should have attempted a ball across the box for Werner.



But that type of move eventually worked, for the opening goal. There were two notable things here. First, Werner’s determination to make a 30-yard lateral sprint and shut down this short free kick played by Koke to Kieran Trippier. His half-block meant the ball looped up for N’Golo Kante to head clear, launching a Chelsea break.



The break itself was excellent. Again, it featured Havertz prompting play from deep, with two runners on either side. Werner sped down the left, and slipped in Hakim Ziyech for a simple finish. It was the type of goal Chelsea fans imagined when that trio arrived last summer. It was the type of goal Tuchel would have been plotting in the build-up. It was the type of goal which justified leaving Giroud on the bench.



It was a new type of Chelsea. Or, perhaps, an old type of Chelsea — reminiscent of the first season of the first Jose Mourinho spell, when Eidur Gudjohnsen would drop deep to feed Arjen Robben and Damien Duff on the run. The assist and finish brought to mind Ramires teeing up Didier Drogba for the opener against Barcelona in Chelsea’s semi-final victory back in 2012. That’s the type of Chelsea that fans have grown to love; after a decade when supporters of almost every other big club have demanded that their side dominates possession, Chelsea fans are more accustomed to counter-attack. Maurizio Sarri’s football, for example, was deeply unpopular.

This was more like it. Chelsea kept putting together the same type of counter-attacks. Here’s a slight variation, with Ziyech starting things from the right, and Werner motoring into the right channel. Havertz couldn’t quite keep up from the left, but look at Werner’s head position and it’s clear he wanted to play a square pass.



Chelsea eventually rounded things off in stoppage time, again with a three-man counter-attack, again started by a Kante header. This was an intelligent move, with substitute Christian Pulisic dribbling infield from a right-sided starting position, and Kante making a very deliberate overlapping run to provide options on both sides. Pulisic eventually went left to fellow substitute Emerson Palmieri, who finished confidently.



There were some grumblings about Tuchel’s insistence on dominating possession without much penetration in the opening weeks, but now his Chelsea are excelling in almost every aspect. It’s not just about possession dominance. In the reverse leg, their counter-pressing was exceptional, cutting off any Atletico breaks at source. Here, they counter-attacked majestically.

If there’s one criticism of Chelsea under Tuchel, it’s that they haven’t scored enough goals. There have been three blanks, in goalless draws against Wolves, Manchester United and Leeds. Against Tottenham and Liverpool, they clung on to claim a 1-0 victory when they should have been out of sight.

But ultimately, that hasn’t cost Chelsea because their defensive record has been so impressive. In 13 matches Chelsea have conceded only two goals, one of them being an own goal scored in bizarre circumstances when Antonio Rudiger misjudged a backpass against Sheffield United. Last night, the closest they came to conceding again came from a backpass, when Cesar Azpilicueta underhit the ball, and then pulled back Yannick Carrasco on the edge of the box.

That was it, though. Otherwise Chelsea were comfortable, and collected an 11th clean sheet in 13 games. Examining the statistics suggests that while Chelsea have, inevitably, been flattered by that record, they simply aren’t conceding many chances at all. In only one of Tuchel’s 13 matches have Chelsea conceded more than 0.81 xG in a game — peculiarly, against the weakest opposition they’ve encountered, Barnsley in the FA Cup. It was, of course, a slightly rotated side — with Emerson fielded as the left-sided centre-back, hardly a recipe for defensive discipline.

Other than that, they’ve been solid. They’ve kept out Manchester United, they’ve kept out Liverpool, they’ve kept out Tottenham, they’ve kept out Leeds, and now they’ve kept out Atletico in both legs. Here’s their defensive record in Tuchel’s 13 games so far — their goals against (GA), shots on target against (SOTA) and expected goals against (xGA).

Chelsea's defensive record under Tuchel
Opponent GA SOTA xGA
Wolves 0 0 0.53
Burnley 0 0 0.20
Tottenham 0 2 0.60
Sheff Utd 1 3 0.65
Barnsley 0 4 1.53
Newcastle 0 4 0.56
Atletico (a) 0 0 0.81
Southampton 1 1 0.59
Man Utd 0 4 0.40
Liverpool 0 1 0.28
Everton 0 1 0.34
Leeds 0 4 0.39
Atletico (h) 0 4 0.55

Simply keeping clean sheets can get you far in the European Cup, and now Chelsea are a serious contender. Bayern Munich and Manchester City are more complete attacking units, while PSG and Liverpool probably boast the best combination play between forwards. But there’s also something untrustworthy about each side defensively. Bayern’s high line still feels precarious. Pep Guardiola’s system changes have caused City problems in previous years. PSG have developed a reputation as lacking nerve on big occasions. Liverpool have just about cobbled together a reliable centre-back pairing, but remain without their best defenders.

Chelsea will doubtless have to defeat one of those sides — probably two, perhaps three — if they’re to win their second European Cup. Those teams feel stubbornly committed to dominating the game, and maybe we’ll see more of this counter-attacking Chelsea. On the strength of this performance, that might be where Tuchel’s Chelsea are at their best.

“I’m pretty sure no one wants to play against us,” said a confident Tuchel afterwards. That sums it up — Chelsea aren’t the most spectacular side left in the competition, but they might prove the most awkward, flexible and wily opponents.

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12 hours ago, different level said:

That's really shocking. Considering we barely beat Benfica in the rematch in 2012 with a last gasp Meireles stunner, the Atletico tie is statistically our best CL knockout performance ever, lol.

To be fair, you play to the state of the game

If we are ahead on away goals or if a draw is perfectly good enough like 4-4 vs Liverpool - there is no reason to win both legs

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19 minutes ago, Strike said:

To be fair, you play to the state of the game

If we are ahead on away goals or if a draw is perfectly good enough like 4-4 vs Liverpool - there is no reason to win both legs

Yes but we played Stuttgart, Porto, Copenhagen, Valencia, Galatasaray x2, Olympiakos... 

Just this round of 16, five teams won both games. It is regular thing. 

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21 hours ago, MoroccanBlue said:

City vs Bayern

Liverpool vs PSG

Dortmund vs Real

Porto vs Chelsea 



20 hours ago, Jason said:

If those draws happen, I'll make you a TC mod for a day. 😝

No mod for you but at least you got ours right. 🤣

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Cannot believe Spurs threw a 2 goal lead away as well last night. Mourinho has seriously lost it.

What an excellent draw 👏

And we play either RM or Liverpool in the Semi Final. 

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