football

Five talking points as Chelsea advance to semi-finals despite defeat


Chelsea advanced to the last four of the Champions League thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory over Porto despite losing their second-leg.

The highlight reel from this clash will by no means be a long watch with Mehdi Taremi’s excellent overhead kick the only moment of quality.

A 2-0 lead from their first-leg last week allowed Thomas Tuchel’s side to adopt a measured approach in Seville.

Jesus Corona had several early chances for the Portuguese side, but his lack of composure saw him spurn them both.

Had he scored we may well have had a different game as Porto’s goal came too little too late.

Tuchel will now prepare his side for another semi-final this weekend as Man City await in the FA Cup.

Here are five talking points from a quiet night in Spain.



Thomas Tuchel has taken Chelsea to the last four in Europe
Thomas Tuchel has taken Chelsea to the last four in Europe

1. No thrills

If ever a second-leg summed up the term “job done” it was this one.

Make use of the advantage, keep it tight, don’t open up, semi-finals. Unspectacular yes, but effective nonetheless.

With an hour gone neither side had even had a shot on goal. That stat pretty much sums up the 90 minutes.

Chelsea didn’t seem to have a great appetite to play on the break. Porto’s excellent strike came too late to make a difference.

The better team progressed, but this was a tie won in the first-leg.

2. A final push

Coming into the last eight it was widely accepted that PSG, Bayern Munich and Man City were the three favourites.

So when they were all drawn in the same half of the draw it opened the door of opportunity to some of the others – one of those being Chelsea.

The Blues will now take on either Liverpool or Real Madrid, depending on who wins tomorrow’s game.

Both have had their issues this season and Chelsea will fancy their chances against either side.

A final appearance in Tuchel’s first season would certainly be an excellent return.



The two sides nullified each other in Seville
The two sides nullified each other in Seville

3. Is Kai the guy?

Kai Havertz was again deployed as a false nine in Seville. The German has played in that position recently, but hardly received glowing reviews.

That said, Tuchel is clearly trying to get the best out of the club’s huge investment with his struggles well documented.

Chelsea’s lack of a clinical forward has given the Blues boss license to experiment in that area of the pitch.

Although the fact that Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner all found themselves on the bench is hardly a great reflection on the attackers Tuchel has at his disposal.

Did someone say Erling Haaland?

4. Weathering the storm

The Blues are certainly proving that they’re capable of doing it all.

Yes their defensive record has been impressive for the most part, but plenty will ask how much proper defending they’ve really been asked to do.

Their dominance of possession means, whilst they have accumulated clean sheets at will, few teams have really put them under the cosh for prolonged periods.

In Spain though Porto certainly gave it a go, especially in the first-half. Chelsea though gave up few opportunities despite the Portuguese side enjoying the lions share of possession.

Their late goal coming too late to awaken the contest.



Jesus Corona missed two first-half chances
Jesus Corona missed two first-half chances

5. A makeshift treble

Tuchel took over a Chelsea team high in quality, but low in confidence and appearing to lack ideas.

Frank Lampard, for several reasons, was struggling to get the most out of the group he had assembled. So what would the brief have been when the German took over?

Top four was a must. So if he finishes fourth, takes the Blues to two semi-finals just how will that be viewed by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.

On paper it is little more than Lampard achieved in his first season, but Tuchel took charge midseason.

You get the impression those in west London could well be sniffing another piece of silverware given the German’s instant impact.

But with what he inherited his accomplishments up until now have certainly been impressive.





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