I see striking similarities in how bigger teams have embraced the uglier side of the game. I am strictly talking about the archetypal big matches. Barcelona and Bayern Munich have learned to dominate possession and their idea of defending is not to lose the ball.But in the recent 3-0 win, Dortmund have shown how quick transitions from a possession turnover into attack can be used to destroy such teams. Denying them space in the center of the pitch, forcing them wide, asking your wide players to defend and if possible nick the ball when the playmakers are out of options and counter with speed was essentially what dortmund did. That sounds a lot like Chelsea we know in big games doesn't it. Spurs and Gooners can testify to that. In the Copa del Rey i saw Madrid use a similar template. Staying compact and breaking with pace (Gareth Bale's pace no less).Seems that they have a taken a page out of their neighbors book. Granted Barca are nowhere as dangerous as they were but using two banks of four and then breaking using Isco, di Maria and Benzema has worked well for them. It might serve them well in the upcoming semi-final against Bayern. But the biggest hurdle for them is their centre-backs propensity to lose it in the big games. We don't have that problem(of course David Luiz is capable of it).
Its a shame Matic can't be used so we'd have to rely on Luiz, Lampard, Ramires and Mikel. But i think the partnership of Luiz and Lampard at Stamford Bridge and that of Luiz and Ramires at Vicente Calderon would serve us well. And before you say that i am crazy to suggest starting Lampard i'd like to remind people of his performances vs Liverpool (had to go off due to injury at half time) and PSG. He is and remains a big game player and to not use his experience and quick accurate one-touch passing would be a shame. The biggest concern for me against Atletico is scoring and not conceding. We have handled more dangerous attacking teams well enough(Barring the last few crazy minutes vs PSG). To break them down, Jose has to think of a plan. Direct play may not work as their defenders are robust and we don't have a certain Didier Drogba in our employ. We need Oscar to be back to his best as i think his first touch and close control in central areas is better than Willian. Him and Hazard will be key as Willian will work to help us beat their aggressive press by using his body to draw fouls and generally win the midfield battle. He can carry our team forward at speed. Schurrle can play a crucial role at liverpool with his runs beyond the defense. Since liverpool defense is basically crap him and Torres(yes Torres) can occupy the centrebacks making it harder for them to play out of the back quickly. I doubt Salah will start in such a big match and Andre has made a habit of scoring in big matches.
So my ideal teams for the three crucial matches will be (all 4-2-3-1)
1st leg away
2nd leg home