I have heard a lot of negativity from opposing and even some Chelsea fans about how we set up yesterday and I can understand it but a lot of things contributed to how we played last night.
First and foremost we must remember that this is an Atletico side which hasn’t lost in the UCL this season and were riding high in La Liga unlike Chelsea who now have to depend on other results in the EPL. With our loss against Sunderland, it was back to basics for Chelsea, defend first and score later.
The game plan with Lampard, Luiz and Mikel was to absorb whatever pressure the Atletico midfield had to offer while Willian and Ramires’ job was to limit the forays of Atletico’s wing backs and wingers thus reducing the workload on our full backs (Cole and Azpi). It worked perfectly.
Now here’s the part where it goes sour. Cech’s injury in the 1st half means that we had to “waste” a sub. With Oscar, Schurrle and Ba on the bench it was pretty obvious that the 2nd half should have been one where we would attack with the introduction of both Oscar and Schurrle adding more bite to the attack. With Schwarzer in for Cech, we had just 2 subs and no chance for a change in plan.
John Terry got injured and had to be replaced by Schurrle(another sub wasted) meaning that Luiz moved back to defence. Now take note, none of the substitutions made by Chelsea were tactical, rather they were subs forced on us by injuries. Mourinho even had to stick with a yellow carded Lampard who was close to being shown a red card for 90mins.
Now let’s put two and two together. Without injuries to Cech and Terry, Oscar and Schurrle could have entered the fray for players like Lampard and Ramires/Willian in the 2nd half. And a final change of Ba for Torres could have ensued. To play like we did even after losing key players spoke a lot about our tactical discipline. This is my honest opinion of the events that transpired last night.
But let me make this clear I don’t care how we play to get to the finals. The UCL is our realistic chance of a trophy and I’ll take what I can get especially since this is a building season for the team. We’ve played beautifully against big teams this season too so there’s no cause for alarm if we bring our “bus” or “tank” for some games. A friend said to me “What if lampard got carded on purpose?” To what purpose some might say; at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I’ll say to make sure he doesn’t miss the final and offer leadership just incase Terry isn’t fit by then. Hopefully we’ll be in the finals. KTTBFFH
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