Chelsea FC earned a hard fought scoreless draw tonight at the Vincente Calderon Stadium against Atlético de Madrid. Despite the fact that the result leaves everything to play for in the 2nd leg of this UEFA Champions League Semi Final, Chelsea suffered a couple of stunning losses. First and foremost, goalkeeper Petr Cech was sidelined in the 17th minute after a collision with Diego Costa off a corner kick. Cech landed awkwardly, suffering a dislocated shoulder in the process. Later in the match, club captain John Terry managed to injure his ankle, leaving him sidelined for a few weeks. Cech will miss the remainder of the season, and, according to manager Jose Mourinho, Chelsea will need to make the Champions League final for JT to return to first team action.
“Petr Cech’s season is over. Don’t ask me technically, but season over. And John – we have to play the final for him to play with us.”
Chelsea also lost players for the 2nd leg through suspension for accumlating too many yellow cards, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel will be watching their teammates play for a trip to Lisbon.
In happier news, Chelsea could regain the services of Belgian superstar Eden Hazard for the 2nd leg against Atleti. Branislav Ivanovic will also return to the side after serving his suspension for the first leg.
Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer looked capable in net against Atletico today, and Ashley Cole had a brilliant performance in his return to the starting XI for the first time since January against Stoke in the FA Cup.
Chelsea face Premier League rivals Liverpool Sunday at Anfield, and if I was in charge of team selection I would be sure to rest the players who will take on Atletico next Wednesday, as the Premier League title is more or less out of reach, whereas the Champions League is still within our grasp.
We’ve lost some key players, but even with injuries and suspension Chelsea can field a very competitive team. A theoretical lineup (based on the 4-3-3 we played today) for the 2nd leg could be:
Chelsea still have everything to play for, and there is no better manager in football over two legs than Jose Mourinho. Here’s hoping we can begin a new undefated streak at Stamford Bridge and move on to Lisbon and our 3rd Champions League final of the decade!