The biggest challenge for Tuchel’s Chelsea yet — and they succeeded
This performance wasn’t really pleasing to the eyes because of the way Atletico played. But tactically speaking, Tuchel’s game plan was near-perfect. His substitutions were perfect. The counter-press was excellent. We saw Chelsea lose possession and win it back in five seconds so many times because the players were willing to cover ground at the time of losing the ball. The execution wasn’t ‘near-perfect’ as I explained in the previous point, but Tuchel completely outsmarted Simeone in the first leg. He subbed on Kante because A) they needed some sort of energy and B) they needed someone to fight for every ball because Atletico dialed up the intensity and had the ball for comparatively longer after they conceded. They needed a ball-winner in place of a tired soldier, and they got it. Kovacic had a great game, and he ran a lot and was rightfully given the rest.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was subbed off for Reece James because the Englishman had proved his point. He did what he was asked to do. He pressed pretty well, and his body language was correct! Reece James came on for him because they needed fresh legs and a two-way fullback to help in defense and offense, now that they had a win to secure. Even though we saw Tuchel scream at his own players, generally speaking, he’d be proud of the performance and be glad to see that his game plan worked. Tuchel is well and truly a brilliant tactician. He needs to deal with a few problems for the second leg, but I’m sure he’ll deal with them just fine.
What lessons did you learn in this one? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!