Chelsea must perform three things in order to overcome Real Madrid: If Chelsea wants to stay in the Champions League through Tuesday evening, it will have a lot to climb. As things stand, the defending European Champions will exit the competition in the quarterfinals.
The visitors’ burial will be held at the Santiago Bernabeu after Real Madrid handed the Blues what appears to be a deadly blow last week in London.
Chelsea was severely defeated 3-1 at home by the Spanish powerhouse it knocked out of the league in the final four last season. Karim Benzema was the show-stopper, with his second straight Champions League hat-trick becoming the main talking point.
If Chelsea were to overcome Real Madrid and go to the Champions League semifinals this season, they must achieve the following three things:
1. Score early
Chelsea will almost certainly need to do this in the second leg if it is to slay the dragon and produce one of the most remarkable Champions League comebacks in recent memory. During the first leg against Real Madrid, the Blues’ offense turned in one of the most forgettable and terrible performances of the season. The one redeeming grace is that once you hit rock bottom, there is only one direction to go: up.
Because they straightened out their scoring early on, Los Blancos were able to sit back and defend for the entirety of the second half in the first leg of the tie.
This wasn’t like the first leg of their Round of 16 contest against Paris Saint-Germain when they soaked up the pressure for 90 minutes in the hopes of winning the tie at home. Real Madrid started the game on the front foot, which helped them tremendously in the long term. Due to the significant advantage, Los Blancos already have, there is no pressure to perform in the second leg (apart from pleasing the restless crowd in Madrid).
2. Limit mistakes
If the Blues are to have any hope of making a comeback, they must reduce, if not eliminate, their errors. This isn’t limited to the string of bad occurrences that occurred in the back.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea outperformed its Spanish adversary in terms of xG, but it failed to capitalize on the wonderful chances it had.
Due to the absence of Romelu Lukaku, Havertz, Mason Mount, and an unnamed player will have to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal.
Continue >>> Chelsea must perform three things
Overall, the Blues will require a near-flawless performance in front of a sell-out crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu if they are to have any hope of defending their championship. The faults that plagued the first leg will have to be eradicated totally. Fortunately, Chelsea’s charge to the European title last season demonstrated to fans that such performances are possible under Tuchel’s leadership.
3. Contain Karim Benzema
While the Blues may not be able to entirely silence the striker, they must do everything they can to keep him quiet during the game. Isolating him up top, man-marking him when he drops into midfield, and being disciplined are the best ways to achieve this.
He’s developed a strong bond with people around him, particularly Vinicius Jr., so erecting a barrier between them is a good place to start. In the first leg, Benzema found it much too easy to rush in behind Chelsea’s defense, which is why Cesar Azpilicueta’s status is crucial for the Blues. He was just diagnosed with COVID-19, but he was able to fly to Spain thanks to a series of negative tests.
If Tuchel’s team is to get back into the tie, he must find a method to make Benzema as ineffective as possible. Chelsea overcame Real Madrid 2-0 last season, which will boost their confidence after a 6-0 victory at St. Mary’s the weekend before.
The Bernabeu, on the other hand, is completely another animal. For the second year in a row, the visitors will need to put up a Herculean effort to reach the Champions League semifinals.