If you had your money on Marc Cucurella being the Man of the Match for Chelsea in the second leg of our Champions League Round of 16 matchup against Borussia Dortmund, then I’d say you’re either a time-traveling wizard from the future, or you’re a liar — especially if you also had him playing as a center back. But it’s happened, and we have the memories, the pictures, and most importantly the result to prove it.
Cucurella’s journey in Chelsea blue has been emblematic of our whole season: high expectations, massive investment, significant underperformance, with perhaps far too much tinge of Brighton (and not the Brighton that beat us 4-1 in one of the last times we did see Cucurella play center back). And those problems on the pitch have been compounded by distractions, concerns, injuries, and various troubles off the pitch.
But all that fell by the wayside as we came together on a freezing Tuesday night for yet another special European night under the lights, staging a memorable comeback against Borussia Dortmund to advance to the quarterfinals. They had won ten in a row; we had three wins in sixteen. Tenth place in the league; among the last eight in Europe. Classic!
This game now has a great chance of galvanizing not only the rest of our season (especially our Champions League campaign), but perhaps even proving a turnaround point in the grand scheme of things for all concerned.
Have you been tried in the fire? Cucurella believes we have, and we have come through as well.
“This win is for everyone. In the bad moments we stayed together. Inside the dressing room the relationship between us is very good. You could see we played together, we ran for everyone, we had a team.
“This is very important because when the team wins it’s easy to stay together, but it’s in the difficult moments when you need to stay together. That is a real team.”
-Marc Cucurella; source: Chelsea FC
As ever, the proof will be in the pudding.