It will be more than a football match-up on Wednesday night when Chelsea FC of London hosts the European best, Real Madrid. The first leg had ended 1 – 1, thereby, giving Chelsea FC a slight advantage over Real Madrid. This time around, home advantage will count for nothing. The thing is, despite the result of the first leg match, I think the two teams have equal chances of advancing to the final of the 2021 Champions League in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chelsea needs to win or draw at Stanford Bridge to qualify for the final and they have the coach as well as the players to get it done in 90 minutes. One major advantage the Chelsea team has over Real Madrid is youth, Chelsea players are much younger than Real Madrid players. They never stop running all through the game, Real Madrid must be physically and mentally fit to get anything from this encounter.
If I should go by these two teams’ last encounter at Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, I can rightly say the Chelsea team doesn’t lack efforts. The players run for 90 minutes without showing any tiredness, they mark and tackle very well when they need to do so. Above all, there are no complexities about playing against the Real Madrid team.
Where I think the Chelsea team may come short are in the areas of experience at the highest level and the absence of the big-occasion players that can decide games when everything else has failed.
Chelsea has neither a Sergio Ramos nor a Benzema, but I expect them to make up what they lack in experience with a determination to win at Stanford Bridge.
In Ngolo Kante, Chelsea has a midfield general who can run and cover every blade of the field for well over 90 minutes without getting tired. The Real Madrid team must do well to provide an answer to Ngolo Kante’s effect in the midfield. In the first leg, he was the real reason the Real Madrid midfield looked out of sort. He shackled the Real Madrid midfielders for the whole period of the game and never allowed them time on the ball. He won most of the duels he was involved in and never showed any fear going against the Real Madrid players.
The major factors in Real Madrid favor are as follows:
- Their experience at the highest levels of European football.
- The fact that most of their players have won this tournament three times and understand the feelings.
- The experience and exposure of their coach.
Expect the Real Madrid players to fight to the bitter end. They can turn on the style and play smart to outwit the Chelsea players, but I fear their players are getting old. They may lack the physicality to match the young Chelsea players for 90 minutes.
Can Marcelo mesmerize and wreck the Chelsea team today with his dazzling runs from the defence?
Will Benzema turn on the pace and style and decide the game in Real Madrid’s favour?
The Real Madrid captain and one of their most influential players, Sergio Ramos, didn’t play in the first leg in Madrid. Will his presence make all the difference tonight?
The two teams must provide answers to these questions this night.
Zidane is known to be a highly tactically sound coach. Will his tactical ingenuity make all the difference tonight?
The Chelsea team has been transformed since Tuchel took over from Lampard. They now play much better football, whether he would guide them into the Champions League final will be determined tonight.
I want to watch an exciting game of football tonight. And which team do I think will win tonight?
My heart goes for a Chelsea victory, but It’s too close to call.