Chelsea overcame Real Madrid in a tough battle, 2-0, to advance to the Champions League final. The brilliant German duo of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner dominated Madrid, but couldn’t quite finish the European giants off. Misses by Havertz twice, Werner, Thiago Silva (twice), and N’GoloKante prevented the Blues from dancing off the Stamford Bridge pitch early after demolishing Madrid. But the same finishing issues remained. Or shall I say non-finishing?
Christian Pulisic began the game on the bench but came on at the 67th minute for Timo Werner. Not a substitution choice that would have been made here. Werner was a constant threat to score or assist. He should not have been subbed. That was a flub by Thomas Tuchel that could have been costly. Werner was a threat all game long. All game long. His runs behind the defense are unstoppable. One resulted in an off-side goal. But more are certainly on the way.
The correct substitution perhaps may have been Pulisic on for Jorginho with Mount dropping into the dual 6’s pivot, a position he took to like a fish to water in the win against Fulham. Whomever the substitute, Werner’s threat with his pace should not have been removed. He’s just too good. Too dangerous. That notwithstanding, Chelsea is looking like a powerhouse side that is a hair’s width from just exploding into a massive goal eruption in one of these games. The chances and the goals have been there for the taking but not finished. When will the true breakthrough arrive? It has to be frustrating to any and all Chelsea fans who see the dominating play but not the dominance on the scoresheet.
Chelsea outplayed Madrid considerably if you consider solid chances by a wide margin. The Spanish giants should have been thoroughly thrashed. But as has been the case all season long, Chelsea doesn’t quite take advantage of the gilded opportunities that they are handed or really just take. They just can’t finish! Chance after chance after chance comes up empty. They have to figure this out. Some game. Some time. That’s the manager’s job. Something is amiss and he has to unlock the combination to this Blues’ side (without any additions whatsoever) just blowing top sides of Europe out of the stadium. But, that being said, nice job Thomas Tuchel!
Finally, at the 85′, Kante to Pulisic to Mount finished off Madrid. Kante’s value cannot be overstated. He was involved in both goals. His efforts throughout the game were simply sublime. And, other kudos have to be given. Mendy, he of the “Clean Sheet” Edouard Mendy, a magnificent save in the first half off the ever-dangerous Karim Benzema. Toni Rudiger, The Rock of Gibraltar of Chelsea’s defense. Reborn as a first-team player under Tuchel and every bit of the best defender for Chelsea. And, the Old Warrior, Thiago Silva, the steadying cornerstone of the entire defense. And basically for all, a superlative effort and a well-deserved win. Chelsea beat Madrid. Madrid did not lose to Chelsea.
But for all Chelsea supporters, could we have an easier win in a huge match for a change? It’s clear that the club is capable. The club is on the edge. This club can do that. But when and where will it happen? Hopefully, the answer will be against Manchester City in three weeks in the final of the Champions League. It says here that Chelsea can certainly beat Manchester City. No matter whom City suits up. Chelsea can certainly outscore Manchester City. And, Chelsea’s smothering defense is a Blue Curtain that only the fortunate can breach. Including City. And Chelsea can outscore any and every team in English and European football.
The the only question remaining is when will the absolute breakout occur? Hopefully, in the Champions League final. The call here is, Chelsea wins the Champions League. And this time, they will be the better team. Indeed.