football

Stan Collymore's verdict on Chelsea's Champions League triumph over Man City


Brilliant, Chelsea, absolutely brilliant — that was one of the best European performances I’ve seen from an English team for 20 years.

It was multi-dimensional, there were short balls and long balls, they slowed the pace down and sped it up, they were counter-attacking but didn’t defend too deep and it wasn’t far off being the complete performance.

It was the sort of display from the Blues, especially in the first half, that harked back to the great Champions League and European Cup performances of years gone by and was the way, as a fan, I want to see football played.

I hate watching chess on a football pitch so the way Thomas Tuchel set up his team and the way they carried out his orders was absolutely spot on.



The Blues were simply brilliant - this performance was one of the best I've seen
The Blues were simply brilliant – this performance was one of the best I’ve seen

They got bodies behind the ball without parking the bus and as soon as they nicked the ball midway through their own half they weren’t just happy to thread little balls five or 10 yards balls to let City get back and give away those tactical free-kicks we know they are capable of.

They fired one long ball over the top, long diagonals from left to right and vice-versa, and, do you know what, I don’t know any defender on the planet who looks comfortable dealing with those kind of passes.

It was great to watch and there were times in the first half when Chelsea were on fire.

All that after it looked early on like it could be one of those nights when Timo Werner and Kai Havertz had five or six chances and missed them all, and they went on to lose 2-0 or 3-0.

But credit to Havertz for the composure he showed with his goal and to Werner, too, for continuing to make the runs that dragged Manchester City ’s defence this way and that.

The run for the goal in particular was excellent.

Tuchel will have told Havertz and Werner pre-match that this was a one-off and that they had the chance to throw the rest of the campaign in the bin.

That with good performances they could become Chelsea heroes overnight.

And they delivered, reminiscent of Fernando Torres against Barcelona not so long ago.

N’Golo Kante was imperious as well, and Reece James learned from an early mistake and had Raheem Sterling in his pocket.

The referee deserves immense praise as well for a wonderful performance.

The beauty of the result for Chelsea is that, as well as the glory of the night, they are now in pole position when it comes to summer recruitment.

Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane… all of a sudden, you can tell them Chelsea are back and dangle the carrot of trophies.

There was a time Chelsea could almost guarantee silverware to new recruits and you just know they will be on the phone now offering that up and, in Grealish and Haaland’s case, the chance to live in London as well.

Do you agree with Collymore’s verdict? Comment below.

The chance to play for Tuchel has to appeal to players, too, and huge credit to him for everything he has done since arriving in January.

When you come in during a season and you’re replacing a legend, as he did in Frank Lampard, the only way you can get fans off your back is by stopping the team conceding goals and he did that straight away.

He knew he had the players to win games and he set about stopping the problems at the other end — it has paid off for him and then some.

You have to take your hat off to Lampard as well, a rookie manager who identified the talent and put together a team to win the Champions League.

One that did it in style against the great Pep Guardiola, the unbeatable Manchester City, with some wonderful football.

Quite simply, they bullied City into submission with a brand of the game that reminds us for all the pretty passing teams love to play these days, one quick ball over the top can still kill any defender on the planet.





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