Soccer has obvious logics. The one who best plays with the ball usually wins. And it is not a question of who has it or touches it more. It’s a question of who has the best time. And in that Chelsea has been superior in Bucharest and in London. For being more worked for it, for knowing how to wait for his moments to beat Oblak. There is no hit to the pass to the second round of the London team. If there are any for Atlético, rickety and reserved in the first leg, rude in the passes in the second leg to feed any hope of passing. That logic about collective ball handling was overwhelming last night. Before two teams that bet on advanced pressure, the one who best plays with the ball usually prevails. And Chelsea in this gave a review of Atlético. Simeone’s team stayed in the soda from their explosive staging. At full speed to look for a robbery in the vicinity of Chelsea. There he was stranded, unable to link two passes that would give him respite.
The same thing that Atlético wanted to look for, Tuchel’s team tried. The German coach preferred to play without a clear reference above by dispensing with Giroud. I wanted more ball and more movement. He formed a hitting hat-trick with the fine Ziyech, Werner and Havertz to make up for the absence of the sanctioned Mount. Between the three they set up an associative game that deflated the rojiblancos and gave them command of the game. The English team began to prevail because it was clearer how to get out of the swarms caused by the accumulation of players in the pressure. It did not hurt, but it gave him to box Atlético and be better placed to recover the ball.
That superiority in handling the ball and positioning aborted Simeone’s plan for almost the entire first act. The entry of Lodi by Mario Hermoso resulted in a change from system to defense of four that came to nothing. There was not a Brazilian race nor a Carrasco trail on that side. There was also little from João Félix, Llorente, Trippier and Luis Suárez. Impossible before the denial in the pass of a team that has turned into a chronic defect not finding solutions when the rival squeezes the exit of the ball. Neither Koke nor Saúl had the foot to spin any game. Neither presence to impose calm and stop a game that was going down the worst paths for his team. Kovacic and Kanté gave them a magisterium.
Atlético suffers, the rival hides the ball from him and makes him gasp while chasing him. The defensive order and his guild spirit this time only gave him to survive the first half hour. Until a gross loss was found against a book. With Werner running down the eleven lane with a clear track. With Ziyech unmarked invading the center aisle to push the ball face to face with Oblak. In three passes, Chelsea dismounted Atlético, who went into halftime with a mere shot from João Félix.
The fiasco of the first act forced Simeone to give up Lodi and return to the defense of three centrals. Neither did the change of tactical fur give Atlético flight. Chelsea continued sharper. With Werner determined to give a demonstration of what a striker who knows how to play spaces is, deeply in his head when and how to fall to the wings. Also because he has a team that knows how to exploit him. The opposite of Atlético, who was not able to find a clean and clear path so that their offensive players could play in advantage. What cost the rojiblancos a world, to stand in the rival area, Chelsea did it whistling. Oblak had to take Werner one-on-one with the German heeled and deflected a poisoned shot from Ziyech over the crossbar.
In desperation, Simeone continued to operate in search of solutions. Neither with the change of Dembélé for Carrasco, nor with the surprising Luis Suárez for Correa. Only the step back from Chelsea, already comfortable with the advantage of two goals in the tie, allowed them to play in the opposite field. And there, his offensive footballers also disappointed. If with the English pressure the midfielders were shipwrecked, with the withdrawal of the local team their offensive players barely generated a play to remember. Only João Félix disturbed Mendy. Prelude to the expulsion of Savic for an elbow to Rüdiger in a corner kick. Image of the impotence of Atlético, sentenced in the final stretch by Emerson.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.