Atletico Madrid approached this game with much more (attacking) intent, purpose, and quality, and they came out of the blocks with every intention to quickly get back on level terms. But Chelsea were able to keep our now-customary defensive solidity, even with neither Thiago Silva nor Andreas Christensen marshaling the center of the backline.
Chelsea did survive a couple borderline penalties as Atleti, as usual, found it hard to stay on their feet at times, but neither Rudiger’s shoulder barge on Suarez nor Azpilicueta’s arm briefly around Carrasco’s waist were deemed worthy of penalties. Seen them given!
And then Chelsea took advantage of something we didn’t have at all in the first game, space behind Atletico’s backline. Havertz released Werner down the left on a counter, and his perfect ball across the box found Ziyech, who finished well enough to get the ball past Jan Oblak. The three big-money new signings in attack combining!
Atleti brought on Hermoso at half-time to spell Renan Lodi, who was having a torrid time against Reece James, but Chelsea remained comfortable in defense and countered at will — forcing a couple good saves from Oblak (Werner and Ziyech, both), but also wasting several good opportunities.
The visitors kept throwing on their various attacking substitutions, but Chelsea were never truly bothered, with Mendy hardly needing to make a save. Rudiger then took a page out of their book, and got Savic sent off for a nothing elbow with 10 minutes to go, and that was that. Beating them at their own game, too!
Chelsea still had time to waste a few more excellent counters to keep the scoreline close, before finally getting a second goal in added-on time. Emerson, of all players, on just to waste some time, with his first touch!
2-0 on the night, 3-0 on aggregate.
- Five changes from the first leg and several changes from the weekend, as Tuchel continues to surprise with his selections — though Christensen’s absence enforced by an overnight illness (not COVID). Zouma deputised in the center.
- Werner deployed as the center forward this time, with Ziyech and Havertz as dual No.10s in support.
- Another clean sheet!
- Chelsea reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2013-14! The draw will be on Friday.
- Tuchel now unbeaten in 13!!
- Next up: Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarterfinal on Sunday, then the two-week international break