Chelsea have once again found themselves in the Semi-finals of Europe’s biggest club competition – the UEFA Champions League. In a season that the Blues have had their fair share of ups and downs,they’ve have done well to get to this stage – two matches away from Lisbon.
Chelsea turned around the first leg deficit of the quarterfinal at Stamford Bridge in a spectacular way. Chelsea appeared to be on their way out of the tournament as they were defeated comprehensively by PSG in Paris. But just like the Napoli tie in 2012, all Chelsea needed was to get back on their ground to do the job. An Andre Schurlle goal and a late Demba Ba goal did the job for Jose Mourinho’s men in London.
Chelsea are no strangers at this stage of the competition. The west London club have reached the semifinal stage of this completion for the 7th time since the 2003/2004 season. The only other club that have this record is Barcelona. Other teams that have qualified for the Champions League semifinals are Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and surprise package of the competition so far, Atletico Madrid.
The race is getting just as interesting as the scramble for tickets for all chelsea football matches on footballtickettrade.com. At this point, there are no easy teams again. Only the strongest have struggled to get to this stage and only the best two teams will make it to Lisbon. Having said that, one is tempted to ask which club will be slightly favourable for Chelsea as we approach the draw for the semifinal. It’s not really about weakness now. It’s more like getting a team against which Chelsea tactics will work for them perfectly considering the type of players the teams have.
Mourinho was the Real Madrid manager before he left the Spanish capital last summer. Except minor additions [Gareth Bale, Iscoetc], He’s definitely familiar with the team. Having the Los Blancos as an opponent won’t be easy for any team. The Madrid team currently has some of the best players and a very good manager on their books.
Real Madrid’s style of play is very similar to that of Chelsea. The only difference is that they play the counterattacking system perfectly and they don’t really sit back. When you have fast and very good wingers in the mold of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria, there’slittle opposing teams can do to get a result.
The reason why Real Madrid will roll over Chelsea is due to the fact that they play the same style and Real play the style better. As if that is not enough, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea don’t really have any alternative to that style…no plan B. Maybe the team will park their infamous Bus.
Atletico Madrid have had to prove doubters wrong over and over again. They are on their way to the La Liga title for the first time since 1996 and are the only team unbeaten so far in the Champions League. Under formal player, Diego Simeone, Atletico have become an amazing football machine oiled by the superb performances of talismanic Diego Costa, Koke and ArdaTuran.
If Real Madrid plays the same as Chelsea [counterattack], Atletico are everything like Chelsea. They are very tight at the back just like Chelsea. The only difference is that they are not reliant on counter attack like Chelsea and Real Madrid. They play a free-flowing attacking football – almost like Bayern Munich under JuppHeynckes. With Costa and David Villa, the goals continue to flow.
The Atletico players are very determined, resilient and hungry for success. All these reflect in the way they play. The players are very motivated. They have the same attitude that Chelsea had in 2012. This makes them very dangerous. Most people see Atletico as the underdogs of this stage – the ‘dark horse’ if you will. Those people are wrong. The underdog tag is just a smokescreen working well for them. They are very dangerous.
Bayern Munich poses a slightly different problem. Pep Guardiola has not wasted time in impacting his tiki-taka blueprint on the Bavarian side. Watching Bayern Munich now is like watching Messi, Xavi and Iniesta pass around the ball in La Liga. The good thing is that, it is easier to beat a team that plays tiki-taka with a perfect counterattacking model – an advantage for Chelsea.
If Chelsea can get their acts together and stay tight at the back against Bayern Munich, then there’s a huge chance of getting to the final. When Chelsea met Bayern in the UEFA Super Cup back in August, the Blues almost got the trophy. A lapse in concentration at the back gifted Bayern Munich the vital chance they needed. Same thing when they played Arsenal and Manchester United.
If both team are drawn against each other, Jose Mourinho will relish the chance to get one over his old rival. Chelsea will also be out for revenge after the German side defeated them in the Super Cup.
Bayern Munich is the most favourable draw Chelsea will get. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be very hard to get past.