Chelsea has qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time in seven years, knocking out the team that knocked it out in the semifinals that season. The Blues easily defeated Atletico Madrid 2-0 in a game that was kind of similar to the first leg. Chelsea was outstanding, and Atletico was far from it. Everything clicked for the home side, while almost nothing clicked for Atletico. Thomas Tuchel’s gameplan was, again, perfect.
All of that being said, what lessons did we learn from this game?
1. Stunning showing from the front three
This was the first time under Tuchel that we saw a front three of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Honestly speaking, this wasn’t the best display that we can potentially see from them, but it was so far from the worst. They were playing really well overall, linking up very well.
The front had moments of individual brilliance and there was synergy amongst the forwards. The way they moved without the ball, knowing that the other attacker knows what to do with it, was just great to see. The first goal was really, really nice to see: Werner starting the counter-attack, Havertz getting the ball and sending it back to the German striker. Werner took his time with the ball and gave a great grounded cross to Ziyech, who slotted it home first time.
We saw them do what they were supposed to do all game. Ziyech cut inside and tried to create from the half-space, launching dangerous crosses into the box. He moved into more advanced spaces and took shots when he felt like it. Havertz did a little bit of everything, but was particularly good at keeping the ball out of the defender’s feet in tight spaces. He made smart runs, his positioning was tip-top and his involvement as a supporting striker at times helped Werner a lot. Speaking of Werner, he was probably the player Altleti defenders were most afraid of. His runs in behind really, really disturbed and annoyed them, and it caused so much havoc and chaos. One of those runs resulted in the goal and the rest was just great.
More of this, please. I—as well as many Blues fans—would love to see them play together more often.