Reece James the key? How Chelsea can upset the odds against Real Madrid

Reese James the key?  How Chelsea can turn the odds against Real Madrid

Chelsea’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League semi-finals are currently hampered, as they lost 3-1 to Karim Benzema who inspired Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge six days ago.

They head to the second leg, at the newly renovated Santiago Bernabeu, knowing they have to do what little they have achieved and come back from two goals down to stand any chance of qualifying.

The Blues, however, are a minority. Just last year, on their way to lifting the cup, they beat the Spanish giants 2-0, albeit at Stamford Bridge. They can certainly draw enthusiasm from that, but they can’t play the same way they did 12 months ago.

101 He takes a look at three key things the London club must do to stand any chance of moving forward in Spain.

1. Post Reece James in the back

The biggest problem for Chelsea in the first leg came from Vinicius Junior. Although Benzema grabbed goals and headlines, the Brazilian intimidated the right side of Chelsea’s defense, forcing Andreas Christensen to be substituted in the first half.

Reese James the key?  How Chelsea can turn the odds against Real Madrid

As his heat map shows, Reece James was pretty popular against Real Madrid, leaving Vinicius Jr. up against Andreas Christensen. [Courtesy of]

In the second half, Reece James was tasked with keeping the Brazilian calm as Chelsea switched to Defense 4, consistent with Los Blancos in operation. And while the atmosphere and situation will certainly be different from that second half at Stamford Bridge, posting athlete James against the fast Brazilian is the most likely way to keep him cool, even if it means switching to a defensive 4.

Of course, this will nullify some of the threat of the Blues attack, with James being one of the most important creators on the team, but they will have to find that elsewhere. If they delay further, then the small chance of success will become zero.

2. Play Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic

N’Golo Kante was the top-flight player 12 months ago, but had a tough time at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, breaking for Mateo Kovacic in the second half.

The Croatian bought more poise in midfield and allowed Chelsea to better control the ball, which will be key if they want to keep their opponents under pressure for extended periods of tie by retaining possession.

Kovacic had 62 touches and 55 assists in the second half of the first leg, compared to Kante’s 21 and 18 in the first 45 minutes, demonstrating the change made by the front of the team.

However, they still need Kante to do the dirty work for the team, as neither Kovacic nor Jorginho have been the most athletic midfielders and both are prone to falling into a trap. Los Blancos counterattack.

Playing the trio together would have another bonus as well, as it would allow Tuchel’s side to have a match with their opponent, who would almost certainly spread Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric through their midfield. It will be a major battleground and Chelsea must win it.

3- Resist the urge to choose speed

Against Southampton, Timo Werner made a strong case for his inclusion in future teams, as he scored two goals and hit the post and the crossbar while Chelsea caused riots.

But this is an issue that Tuchel must ignore because of this clash. While Southampton played at a high streak, sitting two goals ahead, Real Madrid are likely to fall deeper and look to counterattack using the speed and cunning of Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema.

In this scenario, the blues will need patience and brains, not the back runners. Mason Mount will certainly occupy one of the front berths, and with injured Romelu Lukaku out it seems likely that Kai Havertz will be deployed as a central striker.

With these tools, Chelsea can smash Real Madrid’s sporting defense but are prone to stalling at times, and if they can get the early momentum of the game, they can make an amazing comeback.

Read more:

Watch the Real Madrid vs Chelsea match live broadcast: Watch the Champions League quarter-final second leg online

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Premier League table

# a team deputy Dr s
1 Manchester 31 52 74
2 Liverpool FC 31 57 73
3 Chelsea Football Club 30 41 62
4 Tottenham Hotspur 31 19 57
5 Arsenal 30 9 54
6 West Ham United team 32 9 51
7 Manchester United 31 7 51
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32 5 49
9 Leicester City 29 -3 40
10 Crystal Palace 31 3 37
11 Brighton and Hove Albion 31 -9 37
12 Aston Villa 31 -4 36
13 Brentford 32 -9 36
14 Southampton 31 -15th 36
15th Newcastle United 31 -20 34
16 Leeds United 32 -30 33
17 Everton 30 -19 28
18 Burnley 30 -19 24
19 Watford 31 -31 22
20 Norwich City 31 -43 21
player a team Objectives
Salah Mohammed Liverpool FC 20
son, hyung min Tottenham Hotspur 17
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15th
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 12
Tony, Evan Brentford 12
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 12
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester 11
Zaha, Wilfred Crystal Palace 11
Mason mountain Chelsea Football Club 10
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester 10
Sterling, Raheem Manchester 10
Ravenha Leeds United 10
Vardy, Jimmy Leicester City 10
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United team 9
Fernandez, Bruno Manchester United 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford 9
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal 9
Bucky, Timo Norwich City 9
Smith Roe, Emil Arsenal 9