Chelsea dispatched off Atlético Madrid 2-0 in the Champions League Last-16 second leg, as they once again underlined their superiority over the La Liga leaders.

The 3-0 win on aggregate means they qualified for a first quarterfinal since 2014 as Thomas Tuchel became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first 13 games in charge.

Chelsea once again dominated possession and pressed aggressively to deny their opponents space to get in-behind, instead exploiting the spaces Atleti left to score twice on the counter. 

The blues started with a front trio of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz, their biggest attacking investments last summer who have all struggled to varying degrees. 

Betway Nigeria

However, on the club’s biggest night of the season, they performed admirably and combined to devastating effect on the counter-attack.

Showing a clinical edge

Turning over an Atleti freekick, Havertz clipped a delightful pass into Werner’s path, who expertly drove into space before picking out Ziyech unmarked at the far post for a straightforward finish. 

Ziyech’s first Stamford Bridge goal in a Chelsea shirt had come from an ironic counter-attack against Diego Simeone’s men, displaying a guile and killer instinct that had long been missing under Tuchel.

The Moroccan highlighted the budding understanding with his fellow under-pressure big signings after the game..

“We took the ball well in midfield and we used it in space and it was a good delivery and it was a good finish. It is always a good feeling when you go 1-0 in front and especially when you score it yourself, and the delivery for Timo was good and the pass from Kai before as well.”

“It was a good counter-attack and we knew for our game there was a bit more space and there was calmness in our game, and it came at a good moment.”

Squad harmony

Asides securing qualification, the biggest outtake from the game was the apparent harmony in the Chelsea dressing room. As Tuchel is using the full strength of his squad and everyone feels involved, competing for places.

Emerson Palmieri

The second goal came from third-choice left wing-back, Emerson Palmieri, who hadn’t played since an outing at left centre-back against Barnsley last month. The Italian came on for the dying embers and sealed the game with his first and only touch of the game, finishing off another superb counterattack to spark wild celebrations on the bench and in the stands.

The Londoners are yet to concede a goal in six home games under Tuchel and have now gone 597 minutes in all competitions without conceding a goal

The German tactician is well aware of the effect of such a result on his new team.

“They play with a special bond and performances and results like this give you a certain edge and glue to achieve special things. You can only achieve this through results and experiences.

With the whole squad contributing and feeling part of a project, Tuchel has well and truly got his Chelsea team running. Pertinently, he still had Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Tammy Abraham, Jorginho, and Mason Mount unavailable through injury or suspension.

Chelsea now have their sights firmly set on a memorable season with Tuchel, with a big talented squad boundless in potential and a tactically-astute manager.

There are no prices for outplaying a passive Atlético but in outsmarting Simeone, Tuchel has got his own Chelsea version firing on all cylinders.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blog Meets Brand