Chelsea Column: Champions League final here we come!
April has been a great month for Chelsea. Not only did Chelsea progress into a FA Cup final, but after a brilliant 3-1 win over Real Madrid over two legs, Chelsea have made it through to their third Champions League final.
It’s not just been a good month in cup competitions, either. Since the humiliating defeat to West Brom, Chelsea have yet again gone unbeaten in the league and it looks like they have secured a place in the top four of the Premier League..
How on earth have Chelsea got to the Champions League final?
It’s a question that I have been asking myself since the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. It’s not like Chelsea have been terrible in the Champions League this season, we had a pretty easy time of it while Lampard was still in charge.
The group consisted of Stade Rennes, Sevilla, and Krasnodar. A group that, unsurprisingly, Chelsea topped without losing a single game.
Even when Frank was sacked and Tuchel came in, it looked as though the Champions League would be a tough road with Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. However, it was a breeze, Atletico didn’t look up for the fight and were beaten 3-0 on aggregate.
In the quarterfinals, Porto put up more of a fight and luckily for Chelsea, the game was over after the first leg, so a 1-0 defeat in the second leg didn’t matter.
The semi-final against Real was always going to be tough. Regardless of Madrid’s form or team, this is a club managed by Zidane, a serial winner. However, Tuchel and Chelsea played them off the park. I never expected that we would’ve dominated over both legs.
The fluidity in Chelsea’s defence and attack was world class and it denied Real Madrid any real chances to take control. Every time Chelsea went forward it looked like it could be a goal. If only Werner, Havertz and Mount could finish more chances, it could have been 4 or 5-1.
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There is no doubt that Chelsea deserve to be in the Champions League final and Manchester City will be a fine opponent. While I don’t want to count my chickens too early, it’s a winnable game, but it’s going to be far from easy.
May 29th is going to be a rough day for me and I’m going to be a nervous wreck from the moment I wake up until the final whistle.
Even if Chelsea don’t win, I don’t think I can be disappointed. I never thought we would get this far in the Champions League for a few years at least, but here we are.
2012 repeat on the horizon?
It’s not just the Champions League final that Chelsea players and fans have to look forward to, but Chelsea will play Leicester City in the FA Cup final on the 15th May.
Chelsea are continuing the relatively new tradition of getting through to a domestic final in the years they get to the Champions League final. In 2008 ,Chelsea got to the League Cup final but lost to Spurs, of all teams.
In 2012 though, Chelsea got to the FA Cup final against Liverpool. Despite controversy regarding a disallowed goal for Andy Carroll, Chelsea won the game 2-1.
Roberto di Matteo had been brought in mid-way through the 2011-12 season and won us the FA Cup. This was before marching Chelsea past a Spanish side in the Champions League semi-finals with help from a misfiring striker. Sound familiar?
Winning the FA Cup would be great momentum for Chelsea in their pursuit of the top four as well as for the Champions League final.
Chelsea’s victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals has a lot more weight to it now than it did a few weeks ago. On the day Tuchel set up his Chelsea side very well and I think City fans will agree that Pep got it all wrong.
City never looked to have much of a chance and Chelsea only needed a single goal, which sealed them their second consecutive FA Cup final.
While people may think that this final means more for Leicester, the FA Cup has always been a special competition for Chelsea.
Chelsea have won the FA Cup six times since 2000, plus a few more final appearances. The FA Cup is always a great trophy to win. For Tuchel, it will be his first shot at a trophy since becoming Chelsea manager, so he will be keen to win it.
Leicester are going to be no slouches and will try their very hardest to win it, and while I think it will be a close game, Chelsea’s ability to kill off games quickly will be tough for Leicester to get past.
What has Tuchel done right that Lampard got so wrong?
Firstly, Tuchel has gotten the players on his side. Lampard lost faith from players like Jorginho and Rudiger. He was playing stupid systems which made Werner obsolete and, let’s face it, Havertz is not a right winger.
Tuchel came in and got those players on his side and we have seen improvement from all of them. While Werner may still need to work on his finishing, he creates so many chances and goals that he is danger to opposition teams.
Havertz has come out of his shell in Tuchel’s false 9 system, and he has been bagging some great goals, especially against Fulham and Crystal Palace.
Tuchel has sealed up our defence, except for West Brom, of course. However, the three at the back system has been working a treat. It doesn’t matter which players are put in the three, because it’s such a fluid system.
Kante is now back at his best in the holding midfield role alongside Jorginho or Kovacic. Two players that are very much underrated in this Chelsea side.
The new energy in this team is the reason why Chelsea have a three-point buffer to West Ham in the league and why Chelsea are very much on the tail of Leicester, who sit in third.
This is what you would expect when you bring in someone who is as tactically sound as Tuchel is. While I was wanting Frank to be given more time at Chelsea, Tuchel has shown just how bad of a job Lampard was doing.
This Chelsea side have so much potential. It’s a young team and are still at the beginning of a long journey, but the fact that Tuchel has been able to achieve so much in so little time goes to show how good this Chelsea side are.
Now I don’t expect Chelsea to go on and win the quadruple next year, I don’t even think Chelsea will win the Premier League in the next couple of years.
But what Tuchel has managed to do with this team just goes to show that the future looks bright at Chelsea.