Three talking points from Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea
Real Madrid do not disappoint in the UEFA Champions League, a competition whose pressure even the best in the world crumble under. Their dream run in the competition continued on Wednesday night in Madrid as they pounced to a 2-0 lead over Chelsea in the first leg of the quarterfinal.
The scoreline is kind on the London-based side, for Carlo Ancelotti’s men did not take all the chances that came their way. Yet, it now raises the demand for Chelsea to score at least three goals against the defending champions next week at Stamford Bridge.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea.
1. An elite set of forwards
When the spotlight shone the brightest, every single one of Real Madrid’s forwards stepped up to the occasion. Be it the starting trio or those called off the bench, they all left their mark.
Carlo Ancelotti opted to deploy Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes on the night and the three ran riot in the Chelsea area.
The first goal came through a combination play between Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr. The Spaniard’s lobbed pass over the defence found the Brazilian who volleyed it first time. Kepa got an arm to it, but Benzema was there to score his sixth goal in five appearances against Chelsea.
Rodrygo, though not directly involved in a goal, was instrumental with his combination play in tight spaces. The youngster opened up the opposition defence on numerous occasions and completed two of his three dribbles.
The manager opted to substitute Rodrygo in the 71st minute and brought on Marco Asensio as his replacement. The winger did not take long to leave his mark on the game as he neatly tucked the ball beyond Kepa from outside the box just 3 minutes into his cameo.
For Los Blancos to have all four forwards fire in tandem in a high-pressure situation speaks volumes about the manager and the dressing room. It is not surprising that Real Madrid are the knockout kings.
2. One-way traffic
Chelsea dominated the first few minutes of both halves and in a short spell in stoppage time. Apart from those few occasions, it was all Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Blues struggled to even get the ball out of their own half, falling prey to the high press of Real Madrid’s midfield core time and time again. The visitors were disorganised and lacked coordination, unsurprisingly falling short of the defending champions.
Real Madrid had close to 60% of the possession on the night and dominated statistics both in attack and defence.
Of their 18 shots on the night, Real Madrid had ten on target and forced a staggering eight saves from the opposition shot-stopper. They also created four big chances, three of which they went on to miss.
The team completed a whopping 12 dribbles on the night as opposed to Chelsea’s six. Further, they won 46 duels, 17 tackles and 11 interceptions at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti thus has only positives to take away from the midweek fixture but one wonders how Frank Lampard can salvage anything to hold onto.
3. Halfway there
As dominant as the two-goal lead appears against clearly inferior opposition, it is the norm of the UEFA Champions League to never write off a game until it is over.
Next week, the two European giants face off again, this time in London and Frank Lampard’s men will be hungry to strike back.
Chelsea’s problem on the field is not a lack of quality but the sheer absence of coordination and understanding. The Blues have some of the world’s best players in their ranks with an audacious number of backups. Needless to say, the chance of individual brilliance helping them next week cannot be ruled out.
Real Madrid have taken one big step towards securing a semifinal berth in the Champions League. 90 minutes of quality football is all that stands between Carlo Ancelotti and a place in the final four.
Needless to say, the Merengues must stay grounded and hold their own at Stamford Bridge and play as if it is a new game.
Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.
Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.
Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.
1. Final game on the road
The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.
From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.
Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.
Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.
Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.
2. Tchouameni’s point to prove
As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.
The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.
Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.
The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.
The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.
3. Only three forwards
Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.
The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.
Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.
For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.
In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.
Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.