Chelsea came in as favorites in most people’s books to win not just the game but also to qualify to the finals and for all the right reasons. Of the two teams they had the better form and were playing the better overall football. They had seamlessly settled into the “Tuchel System” and were not just way better in possession of the ball but also a really good defensive team too and that was evident for the first 30 minutes of the game. Chelsea dominated possession and should have been at least two goals up if Timo Werner didn’t miss from just about 6 yards out.
What Real Madrid have over Chelsea in the tie however, is a wealth of experience and individually better players. Chelsea may have the better functioning team, but Madrid have a group of experienced players who have been in these positions before. After Pulisic latched on to a brilliant pass from Antonio Rudiger and basically waltzed his way pass Courtois before slotting the ball into a gapping goal no one from the Madrid team looked fazed. They were outplayed for most of the time leading up to and after the goal, and never looked like they were out of control. They slowly worked their way back into the flow of the game and finally pulled themselves level through a Benzema goal. One he would not forget in a hurry. From that point on Real Madrid looked like the better side and never really seemed threatened by Chelsea’s quick passing game maybe because Chelsea under Tuchel don’t create so many good chances.
While the consensus is that Chelsea under Tuchel don’t score enough goals the numbers do not back that up. The drop off in goals for Chelsea under Lampard vs Under Tuchel is negligible. The concern is with the number of chances created (xGA) or better still the number of quality chances created.
as of March, 26th
Chelsea have progressed a lot in the fluidity of their movements when they are in possession. Their transitions are quick, they create options always and almost never seem to stand still but if all that does not lead to chances then it’s all for naught and that was glaring in today’s game. Bar the Werner miss Chelsea didn’t create any other clear cut chance in the game during their period of dominance and that is what has kept Real Madrid in this tie.
They’ll need to be a lot more clinical in the second leg if they want to get passed this very experienced Real. Madrid side and get themselves in the Champions League final for the first time since they last won it in 2012 but for now, it’s GAME not OVER!