Real Madrid vs Chelsea

Real Madrid vs Chelsea Preview – Can Tuchel’s Pedigree pull off an unlikely heist ?

Real Madrid vs Chelsea (watch 1st leg here) is less than 24 hours away. The Gargantuan Round 2 bout as The hosts welcome Chelsea for the 1st time at the historic Santiago Bernabeu in their unparalled history. Last year the home tie of Real Madrid took place at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium as Chelsea rose to the big occasion to overwhelm Real Madrid 0-2 and winning the tie by 1-3 on aggregate. Though this year the story is very different as the hosts are in a two goal advantage, but since no “Away Goals” rule exists anymore this ain’t as big of an advantage as it would’ve been last year. This year Chelsea can score two and force the tie to be extended to “Extra Time”. Here we look at how both the teams can get the desired result and progress to Semi Finals of Champions League to face either Atletico Madrid or Manchester City (0-1 after Leg 1 at Etihad).

What do Real Madrid need to do ?

Real Madrid are expected to start with the same lot of 11 that started at Stamford Bridge except the force change of Eder Militao who’s suspended for the match after getting booked in Leg 1. Nacho is expected to fill those boots and form a defensive line with Alaba & Mendy/Carvajal as full backs. Fede Valverde is expected to start again of the right wing to really boost the Royal Whites pressing on the field. The midfielder was sensational at Bridge as he put in a fabulous shift for the team. His runs at right wing were necessary to free Modric to cross and assist Benzema for 2nd goal. He formed a mid 4 sometimes along with Kroos, Casemiro, Modric to nullify the two men Central midfield of Kante/Jorgingo. He tracked back and assisted Dani Carvajal on the right as well as the Right Back had a great game too. All and all, Real Madrid absolutely need Fede Valverde to start and boost their authority on the pitch. Camavinga will also be keen to contribute from the bench when needed and form a formidable Box to Box duo with Valverde whenever necessary. The duo was great vs Getafe and proved they can run the show for entire 90 minutes whenever needed. Benzema the hat trick hero may need his Track Back skills as the hosts are defending a 2 goal lead while Vinicius will be yet again looking to test the Right Center Back of Chelsea with his swift and incisive runs. Any way, The Royal Whites need to calm their nerves down with the new lot of players and just soak in the 1st 15 to 20 minutes where Chelsea will probably come out All Guns Blazing and get that 1st Goal to put Madrid in real pressure. Once that’s done they can take advantage of desperate Chelsea and hit them on counters. If the 1st goal comes from the home side, the tie is expected to be done & dusted at that point.

Fede Valverde vs Chelsea
Even photographers struggle with how quick Fede Valverde is ⚡️

What do Chelsea need to do ?

Much anticipation do exist with how Chelsea will approach the tie from here on. All the eyes will be on the defending European Champions especially on Thomas Tuchel. The manager has claimed that the tie is “OVER” and there’s no way back for Chelsea, though these just seem to be mind games for a manager carrying such pedigree like Tuchel who before last week was unbeaten vs Real Madrid in his career. He stuck to his typical 3-4-2-1 formation with Reece James & Azpilicueta as wing backs though many fans believing that playing Azpilicueta hindered the offensive runs & crosses as expected from the wing backs. Vinicius Jr. absolutely shattered the 3 CB formation of Chelsea testing Christensen every time there was a chance, which was pivotal to 1st goal of Madrid as well. But Tuchel was quick to realize the lethargy of Christensen on given day and switched to 4-3-3 with Reece James given the duties to mark Vinicius. It payed of for Chelsea as they dominated much of the 2nd half. We can expect Tuchel to yet again go with a 4-3-3 or if he wants to stick to 3-4-2-1 then play Reece James as Right CB as he did when Thiago Silva was off on weekend vs Southampton. Either way, Tuchel needs to contain those runs of Vinicius and potentially of Fede Valverde too on the right flank. Ngolo Kante will also be looking to make his impact in the midfield after a disappointing 1st leg where he was tactically neutralised on the pitch by Toni Kroos with his deep dropping & wide dropping approach as the midfielder.

Real Madrid vs Chelsea expected lineups
Expected lineups for today as per Spanish Media Outlet "Marca".

The Young attacking line of Chelsea needs to respond as well in Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic. Kai Havertz will be expected to again come up clutch especially with his aerial abilities and test the vulnerable Alaba and Nacho who’re not as comfortable in aerial duels as they’re on ground. Romelu Lukaku, the 100M striker is out of the 2nd leg due to injury. But keeping all that aside Chelsea have all the resources to turn this tie around. An early 1st goal for Chelsea and the cat may very well be among the pigeons for Real Madrid.

Either way, Real Madrid vs Chelsea is gonna be a fascinating 2nd leg at the Bernabeu, a duel of 2 great coaches and two teams with fantastic set of players.

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