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CHELSEA CRUISE PAST MADRID TO SECURE A FINAL SPOT

It is always a big deal when a team beats Real Madrid in the Champions League and while this version of Real Madrid is clearly nowhere near the usual, it is important to note that this Chelsea team before Thomas Tuchel took charge was somewhere around mid-table in the league and were not even mentioned among teams expected to make it to the Finals of the Champions League. Fast foward 4 months and Chelsea are final bound.

Thomas Tuchel on arrival was on record saying, “we’ll create a team no one wants to play” and last night Real Madrid didn’t look like they wanted to play Chelsea. Los Blancos was second favorites to all contested balls and at no point seemed like they could take control of the game. Karim Benzema remains the only player on the team to deliver consistently and even he could not have much of an effect against that sturdy Chelsea back three. Eden Hazard looked a shadow of himself and simply lacked the confidence to take the game to Chelsea whenever he had the chance. You would think a midfield of Casemiro, Toni Kross and Luka Modric would at the very least string together a few moments of possession and create some chances for their foward players but it was Kante singlehandedly running the show for Chelsea in midfield earning himself another Man of the Match award. Chelsea in the first leg for all their possession didn’t create enough chances to win them that game but last night the Blues created a ton of chances accumulating 3.56xG (according to @xGPhilosophy). Real Madrid on the other hand just had a 0.1xG in the second half and a 0.49xG for the full 90 minutes proving not just Chelsea’s dominance on the ball, but also their toughness at the back; goal keeper Mendy coming up big in the first half.

Chelsea have now earned themselves a spot to play on the biggest stage, for the biggest European prize for the first time since 2012 with a manager who only last year was in a Champions League final and waiting for them at Istanbul is a Pep Guardiola team worth about half a billion pounds making their first ever Champions League final appearance. Come May 29 it’ll be an all English affair between two teams more similar than people realize and I for one, cannot wait.

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