2. A bunch of imperfections
There were a few things that worried me from the performance. Those didn’t necessarily have an impact on the outcome of the game, but they were worth noting. One was that at the start of each half — the first ten minutes of both halves were very problematic for the Chelsea defense. The defenders struggled to deal with Atletico’s high press, little as that may have happened, but it did. And it resulted in quite a few ball losses, especially in the first few minutes of the first half. Atletico pressed really, really well, though it was so sporadic, because of which Chelsea had most of the possession. Now, here’s the problem: Because Atletico is trailing in the tie, they will obviously up the tempo in the next leg. They’ll be more aggressive, more offensive, and even more efficient with their press. Tuchel needs to address this issue because it is crucial for Chelsea’s advancement.
Also, because of the pressing, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy probably had one of the toughest games in a Chelsea shirt. It wasn’t even because of the shots that he might’ve faced. It was just that he was clumsy in possession, and Suarez, Correa and Felix were always there to press him whenever he got the ball. One of such mistakes almost cost Chelsea a goal at the very start. Even in the second half, whenever he was pressed, he tried to pass the ball into the flanks but because the passes were overhit, the ball went out for an Atleti throw-in. It was a tough game for him, but he’d be happy to see out the game without having the ball end up in the back of his net.
Speaking of overhit passes, Chelsea, in general, had quite a few of those. Jorginho, Mason Mount, Azpilicueta, all tried out great passes to slice open the rigid Atleti defense, but so many of those passes were overhit, so they lost possession because of that. The idea was right, of course, but the execution was lacking heavily sometimes. There were some points where they looked absolutely brilliant, which we’ll get to, but this was one problem that was prevalent throughout the game for the Blues.