Thomas Tuchel possesses a Chelsea squad that’s the envy of many golf equipment throughout Europe. It is one packed filled with high quality and expertise – the vast majority of the gamers are reigning European champions let’s not overlook. But even the Blues head coach has his tried and trusted stars, the important thing males he’ll flip to on the larger events.
And they do not get a lot larger than a Champions League tie in opposition to Actual Madrid. The Blues will welcome Los Blancos to Stamford Bridge tomorrow for the primary leg of their quarter-final. The return fixture will happen lower than every week later on the Santiago Bernabeu and Chelsea supporters will hope their facet journey to the Spanish capital with a lead.
That won’t be straightforward. Tuchel has already accepted as a lot. “The problem can’t be a lot increased than taking part in the second leg within the Bernabeu with spectators,” the German stated after the draw was made. “It’s a large problem and in addition there’s large pleasure round this match and fixture. We all know what’s coming and it is going to be a tricky problem.”
Chelsea confronted Actual in final season’s Champions League semi-finals and ran out 3-1 winners on combination. Had been it not for some lax ending from the Blues, the scoreline might’ve been much more emphatic. Nevertheless, that have is one which the Blues will lean on over the subsequent week. They know the right way to get the job carried out.
Tuchel will, in fact, make tweaks to his Chelsea set-up however he is not prone to reimagine his tactical method for the go to of Carlo Ancelotti’s facet. And that may imply there are a number of gamers who’re untouchable in his 3-4-2-1 system. Right here, we select seven gamers who’re anticipated to be deployed tomorrow night
That the Senegal worldwide conceded 4 objectives in opposition to Brentford on the weekend won’t put his place beneath menace – and particularly given his Champions League kind. Mendy has made 19 appearances in Europe’s premier membership competitors and stored an astonishing 14 clear sheets.
The defence in entrance of the Chelsea goalkeeper has, in fact, performed its half in that file nevertheless it should not be forgotten that in final season’s semi-final second leg between the Blues and Actual Madrid at Stamford Bridge, Mendy produced a high-quality one-handed cease to disclaim Karim Benzema. The 30-year-old has actually made his mark within the Champions League having solely made his debut within the competitors in 2020.
In distinction to Mendy, Silva will make his 96th Champions League look if he’s chosen in opposition to Madrid tomorrow evening. Nearly all of these got here throughout his time at Paris Saint-Germain, however it’s with Chelsea that the Brazilian lastly managed to get his fingers on the big-eared trophy.
“I believe that solely those that have lifted that trophy is aware of the way it feels,” Silva stated in an interview with the Blues’ in-house media this week. “Going again to a Champions League remaining and successful that long-awaited title the place I spent one of many worst moments of my life, it actually made me emotional.”
On the age of 37, Silva is within the twilight of his profession. But that hasn’t proven in his performances this season. The centre-back has been close to flawless and can virtually actually be used in the course of Tuchel’s again three, which the German is predicted to revert to after his four-man defence was opened up in opposition to Brentford.
Chelsea’s aggressive chief has performed extra soccer than another member of Tuchel’s squad this time period; Rudiger’s whole of three,990 minutes is much above that of Edouard Mendy (3,329) and Thiago Silva (2,992). And the German centre-back will doubtless move the 4000-minute mark in opposition to Actual Madrid tomorrow.
Rudiger wasn’t at his greatest in opposition to Brentford on Saturday (regardless of his 40-yard marvel strike) however has proved himself one of the vital dependable defenders in European soccer beneath Tuchel – and that’s regardless of taking part in the whole lot of this season with continued uncertainty over his future.
“This case is the state of affairs in the intervening time, our fingers are tied,” Tuchel stated final week over Rudiger’s future. “We can not converse or negotiate with him and his agent [because of the government sanctions]. Truthful sufficient if it’s true that he listens to different presents. That’s the way in which issues go however I’m nonetheless assured [he stays].”
The final three months haven’t been straightforward for the academy graduate. Accidents have restricted him to simply 4 appearances because the flip of the 12 months, the newest of which got here on the weekend in opposition to Brentford. James was introduced off the bench for the ultimate 35 minutes by Tuchel as Chelsea chased the sport. He was first used at left-back after which proper wing-back; it wasn’t the perfect return.
But the truth that James did not begin in opposition to the Bees – regardless of Tuchel stating pre-match the 22-year-old was “able to go” – was a superb indication that he was being saved for Actual Madrid. The England worldwide did not begin both of the semi-final legs in opposition to Los Blancos final season and can be hopeful of placing that proper when Carlo Ancelotti’s facet go to Stamford Bridge this time round.
The Frenchman hasn’t fairly been at his greatest in 2022 and that has led to some debate as as to if he ought to begin tomorrow night, however Kante is certainly one of Tuchel’s most trusted gamers and a person who thrived within the Champions League knockout stage final season.
Kante produced excellent performances over each legs of final season’s semi-final in opposition to Madrid. He ran Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro ragged. A repeat show tomorrow night would virtually actually put Chelsea on the trail to the final 4 as soon as once more.
The large query is probably who’s deployed alongside the Frenchman with each Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in rivalry. The latter twice obtained the nod final season and was rested on the weekend, however Kovacic has been one of many Blues’ most spectacular performers this time period.
Just like Kante, Mount hasn’t produced his absolute best kind in current weeks. But he has continued to make an influence within the attacking third and has claimed three assists in his final three matches. On the weekend, Mount was used as a quantity eight in a three-man midfield. That’s unlikely to be the case in opposition to Madrid.
He was named within the entrance three for each legs of final season’s semi-final and obtained on the scoresheet within the win at Stamford Bridge which sealed Chelsea’s place in Porto. But it was his vitality and work charge that stood out in these fixtures as he helped the Blues steamroll the Actual midfield and creaky backline. A repeat can be required this time round.
There have been only a few gamers to come back away with credit score after the weekend defeat to Brentford, however Havertz was one. “I felt he was our strongest participant,” Tuchel acknowledged after watching his facet concede 4 second-half objectives. “I believe he labored like an animal and was very harmful. I’m very completely happy together with his efficiency particularly.”
Having seen off the problem of Romelu Lukaku, Havertz has established himself as Chelsea’s first-choice quantity 9 in current weeks. He has scored six objectives in his final 9 video games throughout all competitions for the Blues and his off-the-ball work has been persistently highlighted by Tuchel earlier than and after matches.
And it is that which is able to virtually actually assure Havertz a begin in opposition to Madrid. He was wonderful within the second leg at Stamford Bridge and was instrumental in Timo Werner’s opener. The German is unlikely to be paired together with his compatriot this time round however ought to be tasked with main the assault as soon as once more.