Thomas Tuchel’s tone post-match in all probability summarised the sentiment of most inside Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Solely 4 days faraway from the humbling in opposition to Brentford, Chelsea had been handed one other resounding defeat courtesy of a Karim Benzema hat-trick.
The uncharacteristic Edouard Mendy error following the restart might need successfully killed the tie heading into subsequent Tuesday’s second leg, while Tuchel hopes to return to profitable methods within the Premier League on Saturday at Southampton.
There have been many issues to concentrate on on this post-match debate piece. The defensive lapses, the type of Romelu Lukaku or the persevering with ache of no Ben Chilwell. However soccer.london’s Chelsea staff of writers are going after the case of central midfield after final night time’s disappointment.
The query surrounds whether or not Tuchel obtained it incorrect with the midfield he began, notably omitting the in-form Mateo Kovacic from the line-up once more, the participant signed from Actual for £45m in 2019 has now solely began 4 of Chelsea’s final 9 video games.
Pre-match the staff debated doubtlessly dropping N’Golo Kante for this conflict. In the long run, the Frenchman was substituted at half-time for “tactical causes” as Tuchel defined.
It’s tough to know whether or not Thomas Tuchel obtained the midfield incorrect. Whether or not Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho or N’Golo Kante are overlooked, it could possibly usually depart an ingredient lacking from the Chelsea set-up.
Nevertheless, the Blues’ midfield was pretty non-existent within the opening half as Actual Madrid had been allowed to show the house aspect’s defence. Kovacic’s mobility would have been helpful, however whether or not the general difficulties got here from too many gamers underperforming is hard to know for sure.
The Croatian midfielder can definitely really feel unlucky to not have been within the beginning XI, and the early substitution of Kante confirmed one thing needed to change. The dynamic of the sport had been rewritten by the point Kovacic was actually concerned, nevertheless, with the Blues dominating possession and Carlo Ancelotti’s aspect extra relaxed at 3-1 up.
Tuchel clearly wished his staff located excessive up the sector, as he continued to induce their place ahead, and confirmed frustration when his midfielders had been blissful to obtain a backwards move. Issues simply did not click on.
In final season’s semi-final, Chelsea dominated the midfield battle. That was largely all the way down to the sensational efficiency of N’Golo Kante, who was enjoying a few of his finest soccer again then. As we’ve spoken about, Kante has not been at his finest just lately, however he may have been helped out extra on Wednesday.
Mateo Kovacic was an apparent alternative to start out in opposition to his former staff at Stamford Bridge. Regardless of Jorginho enjoying an enormous half in Kai Havertz’s objective, Chelsea would have benefited extra from Kovacic’s legs within the midfield.
Bear in mind that is in opposition to an ageing, albeit very robust, Actual Madrid midfield three. Within the second leg, it will not shock me if Thomas Tuchel matched up in opposition to the midfield trio and performed Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic.
With hindsight, it is simple to say that Tuchel obtained the midfield incorrect, however that is soccer. Jorginho, Kovacic and Kante every had a robust case to start out in opposition to Actual Madrid and, had Chelsea put up extra of a struggle, then we may very well be raving about how tactically astute the Blues had been.
Forward of the tie, I wished the Blues to start out a midfield pivot of Kovacic and Kante. Although, seeing as Kroos, Modric and Casemiro outnumbered Jorginho and Kante to nice impact, I am unsure it will have made as massive a distinction as thought.
The west Londoners completed the sport with an anticipated targets tally of 1.64 to the customer’s 1.31. Chelsea had greater than double the variety of photographs but struck simply 5 on track.
On the finish of the day, Actual Madrid had been extra medical and Tuchel’s aspect paid the value for his or her errors, hesitancy and flat show. As soon as Kovacic was launched, Chelsea had been injected with a component of urgency and tenacity, sparking the aspect into life.
Jorginho will garner reward for his hand within the objective, however his normal lack of velocity when Chelsea obtained possession was fairly tedious and the dearth of legs in that space when Actual broke was regarding. That is nothing new with Jorginho, it simply feels just like the previous few months are sort of demonstrating why the membership desperately wants to take a position in the summertime.
Mateo Kovacic can really feel laborious performed by. I felt many instances within the first half we wanted extra velocity when receiving the ball and making an attempt to progress it ahead. By the point he got here on, and with Mendy’s horrible error, the sport had arguably gone and the overall confidence of the staff seemed shot.
Wednesday felt symbolic with Kante’s substitution. A midfield overhaul is required quickly. It’s one thing Chelsea have been hiding from for a while however they will now not keep away from it.
What are your ideas on Tuchel’s midfield conundrum? Depart a remark under to affix the talk