Chelsea suffered a 2-0 loss against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal matchup. The Blues made the challenging trip to the Santiago Bernabeu for Frank Lampard’s second game as caretaker manager, but Carlo Ancelotti’s squad proved to be too much for them.
Goals from Karim Benzema in the first half, and Marco Asensio in the second was enough to take the two goal advantage to Stamford Bridge. With an injury to Kalidou Kouilbaly early on in the second half, things only got worse for CFC when Ben Chilwell was sent off for pulling Rodrygo back while he was through on goal, one on one with Kepa. The tie is fading away, along with the west Londoners’ season.
Chelsea will now have a two goal deficit to overturn when Real Madrid visit the Stamford Bridge next week if the Blues want to progress to the semifinal stages of the competition.
Here are three lessons learned from Wednesday’s UCL clash between Real Madrid and Chelsea
No yellow card suspensions, but missing key wingback
Seven members of Chelsea’s matchday squad were one caution away from serving a suspension in the return leg. Due to a miraculous lack of yellow cards in Madrid, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly, Reece James, Enzo Fernandez, Mykhalio Mudryk, and Conor Gallagher will all be available for selection at Stamford Bridge. However, Ben Chilwell not be able to make an appearance. Ben Chilwell was shown a straight red for pulling Rodrygo back whilst being through on goal, a big loss considering he has one of Chels’ better players in recent matches. It looks like Marc Cucurella is going to be the one to fill in those boots left by the Englishman.
Tactically all over the place
‘Super Frank’ opt-out going for his typical 4-3-3 shape, but rather a 3-5-2 formation instead, with the idea of going toe-to-toe with ‘Los Blancos’ midfield three consisting of Toni Kross, ‘Fede’ Valverde, and 2018 Ballon D’or winner, Luka Modric. It is also a formation the squad had recently played under former interim coach, Bruno Saltor in his only game in charge against Liverpool.
The blues looked fairly decent against Liverpool, albeit the same Merseyside club that lost 6-2, on aggregate, against the 14 time Champions League winners. Tactically, Chelsea were all over the place to put it lightly. Difficulties to start an attack, unable to beat the press, leaving big gaps between the defence and attack are all contributors to the Chels’ fall at the Spanish capital.
Despite having three in the midfield, the Spanish giants had to problem getting past them, and with ease. The attackers had no support whatsoever, and no pressing was done on the Madrid backline. Some questionable instructions had to be set because there’s no way this group of stars are underperforming this poorly. Lampard needs to re-draw a new plan for the return leg.
Lack of confidence issue
There’s no reason for a squad as good as Chelsea to be playing as badly as they’re currently displaying. You can argue the managers aren’t good enough, but at the same time that argument can only go so far. If you really paid attention to the players demeanor, something just looks off.
There’s no sense of urgency or spirit at all within the camp, just a gloomy mess. Many players have dropped off massively over the fast 12 months, such as Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, and Kai Havertz to name a few. The new signings still hasn’t fully settled in, and for obvious reasons because the whole club is in disarray. Fun Fact: Chelsea haven’t scored in four games for the first time in 30 years. Turmoil.
Before the return leg, CFC turns their head to the league as they face a high-flying Brighton, who are in contention for European places. The blues will host the seagulls on Saturday in which will be another difficult task. After that, Frank Lampard’s horrid blues will host former Chelsea gaffer, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid on Tuesday for the second leg of the UCL QFs. Technically, all still to play for, chances are slim, but the Bridge is where miracles happen. ‘1% Chance, 99% Faith.’