When we looked at the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Chelsea it was always going to be a very hard fixture for the blues.
The way Real play with the three guys in the middle who have so much freedom that they can go anywhere they want on the pitch. We saw Modric, Casemiro and Kroos mixing around on the park throughout the game. Zidane has worked hard to build a system that allows these players to show off their intelligence on the football field, sometimes playing out of their positions but making sure the other two players will cover if one drops deep or attacks.
This happened a number of times in the game against Chelsea where you could see Kroos being one of the key guys in building from the back, while Modric hung around near the strikers to combine, or even be the one that starts as a left or right defender. Casimero used his power to get involved with the attacking side of the play sometimes.
I still feel that Chelsea responded really well to the hard task in the middle of the park, making sure they didn’t press high for the full 90 minutes. They started the first half well, especially with the opportunities Werner had, to put his team in front. When Pulisic asked for the great long ball from Rudiger it was all about his calmness and composure, the way he dribbled the ball in to make sure he put his team in front.
This was the moment I felt Chelsea needed to keep pushing to finish this game off, but they allowed Madrid to come back into the game with an amazing goal of smart and fast thinking from Benzema, after they did so much hard and smart work, not allowing Madrid to surprise them by pressing really high to leave the Chelsea backline exposed, like they did against liverpool to their attacking force.
That is why you saw Tuchel quickly adjust in the second half, letting Madrid have the ball for 10 minutes before they got to the blues half, so he had enough space to counter them on their mistakes.
The mistake he was waiting for didn’t happen and I am sure he will be thinking I should have finished this Madrid side when his team had the chance in the first half. He will now have the away goal advantage and hope he can change things in the next game to take his team to the final.
He will be thinking his side has got enough to get past the next hurdle so let’s play and make sure Chelsea don’t lose in London, so they finish the job and reach the final in Istanbul. #mmlove