Sport Tops / Flops Atlético-Chelsea: Giroud’s jewel, Simeone’s tactical choice
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea: Giroud acrobatics puts Blues ahead
The 0-1 victory for Chelsea means that they will be heading into the second leg with a crucial away goal. It's a narrow lead and anything can still happen, but an away goal is always good to have in your pocket coming into a return fixture. Chelsea's new manager Thomas Tuchel is proving that he was the right choice to replace Frank Lampard on the Chelsea bench, as he has now strung together an unbeaten run since taking over a month ago. Atletico Madrid was unable to host their home leg at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Spanish capital due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Tuchel’s tactics paid Thomas Tuchel did not shake for his first real test at the head of Chelsea. And the tactical pattern in 3-4-3 established since his debut on the bench of the Blues has met expectations. Kovacic-Jorginho pair in midfield gave satisfaction, Timo Werner proved to be the main threat on Oblak’s goal and Olivier Giroud perfectly justified the confidence placed in him (see elsewhere). This perfect mix of tactics and technique for Tuchel was characterized by the Blues' possession of the ball on Tuesday night, 60% after this meeting. The ball monopoly climbed to 70% by the end of the first period! While the first act was too messy, Chelsea were solid and consistent in the second half to gain the advantage without ever losing it. Eighth unbeaten game for Tuchel.
Simeone pleased as benched Joao Felix makes 'big impact'
Simeone pleased as benched Joao Felix makes 'big impact'Atletico's 126-million-euro ($152 million) forward was excluded from the starting lineup for the second time in three matches and had been largely ineffective when he did start in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League.
Giroud, the lightning in the Romanian night The wait was long, almost three minutes and the joy of all Blues players testified to the importance of the exceptional goal scored by French striker Olivier Giroud. As he started the action with a header to midfield, the French international's acrobatic kicker crucified Oblak and Atlético Madrid at the finish. The Blues' first (and only) real opportunity was the right one. Olivier Giroud continues his excellent run in the Champions League with a fifth goal in six games, or one goal every 38 minutes. Efficiency.
Thomas Lemar active on his left side Thomas Lemar is one of the meager satisfaction on the Atlético side. The France international sacrificed himself on his left side to repel the London assaults, while redoubling his efforts to be dangerous offensively. As evidenced by his activity, the French traveled 5.1 kilometers in the first act. He could have opened the scoring in the 15th minute on the Colchoneros' only real clear opportunity, on a good cross from teammate Luis Suarez, but he did not straighten his ball enough to conclude the action.
Joao Felix back in contention after coronavirus recovery, confirms Simeone
Diego Simeone will be able to call upon Joao Felix once again on Wednesday, though he is yet to decide if he will start.It was confirmed Portugal international Joao Felix tested positive for the virus on February 3, forcing him to miss two games for LaLiga's leaders.
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An unspectacular game Not many spaces, few opportunities to eat, this match did not really look like a shock the knockout stages of the Champions League between two nationally competitive teams. Atlético Madrid returned to defensive bases, simply refusing play (see elsewhere), while Chelsea struggled to get around this solid and compact block. It took an individual feat from Olivier Giroud to score the only goal of the game.
Simeone's defensive choice Keep up an attacking game that has been enjoyed so much since the start of the season and allowed the Colchoneros to lead the La Liga on their own or return to a more defensive and compact game? Diego Simeone opted for the second option against Chelsea. A choice anything but paying in view of the difficulties of his team to create opportunities, as Luis Suarez's teammates suffered in the game. Six shots for zero on target: this statistic is indicative of the offensive poverty of the Colchoneros in one the most important meetings of their season.
A harmless Suarez-Felix duo That still doesn't mean Luis Suarez in the Champions League. The Uruguayan center-forward has yet to score a goal this season on the European stage. A paradox when we know that he sits at the top of the scorers classification in La Liga with 16 goals. Blame it on a game plan where the Madrid striker did nothing but defend, alongside his partner Joao Felix. An effective first defensive curtain at the start of the game that gradually faded away, as the effort was not being used much. The two main threats of the Colchoneros have not found a way to make themselves dangerous. As the Portugal international was substituted in the 82nd minute, Luis Suarez ended the game uninspired, apart from a slight argument with Blues defender Rudiger.
Tuchel with Chelsea FC on the quarter-final course .
After Olivier Giroud's spectacular overhead kick, coach Thomas Tuchel has the best chances of making it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with Chelsea. © Vadim Ghirda / AP / dpa Chelsea's Timo Werner (l) asserts himself on the ball in a duel against Angel Correa from Atlético Madrid.