Chelsea vs Real Madrid – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 18th April 2023
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at the second leg of the quarter final tie between Chelsea and Real Madrid. Chelsea failed to take their first-half chances and were duly punished – can they claw their way back? Read on with our Chelsea vs Real Madrid prediction.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Match Preview
Chelsea now come into this match on the back of a full-blown crisis. What was already a mediocre campaign under the stewardship of their two previous coaches – Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter – has seemingly taken a turn for the worse under new boss Frank Lampard. While we acknowledge that this is an incredibly difficult situation to manage for any coach, Chelsea have now lost four of their last six matches in all competitions and have scored just one goal in their last five.
It’s not news that this Chelsea side has lacked a cutting edge for the majority of the season, but an xG against Brighton of 0.64 and two shots on target was certainly more of the same – even though certain first-team players were rested, this suggests a toothlessness in their backups, too. Chelsea have lacked a certain ruthlessness in front of goal for much of the campaign, but this defeat was also troubling in that they failed to create much of anything at all.
Had Chelsea managed to score either gilt-edged chance in the first half of their first-leg tie, first through Joao Felix’s one on one with the goalkeeper and later Raheem Sterling’s parried effort from point-blank range, perhaps the complexion of this tie might be different. However, they didn’t, and it isn’t. From about midway through the second half, Real Madrid were in complete control and the only surprising thing about the first leg is that Ancelotti’s side were unable to build upon their two-goal lead.
Real Madrid come into this second leg with a two-goal advantage and on the back of a routine 2-0 victory away at Cadiz, having had the benefit of resting several key players. Though they were forced to wait until the 72nd minute for their breakthrough, they were in the ascendency for most of the match and the result was never seriously in doubt barring bad fortune.
In an interesting twist in La Liga, Barcelona have now dropped four points from their last two matches with consecutive 0-0 draws, cracking open the window of opportunity for Madrid ever so slightly. It’s still a tall order – there are 11 points between the two sides, but if Barcelona continue to drop points then things could get interesting.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Chukwuemeka, Havertz, Loftus-Cheek
Will Not Play: Aubameyang, Badiashile, Broja, Chilwell, Koulibaly, Madueke
Might Not Play: Mendy
Will Not Play:
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Lineups (Predicted)
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Cucurella, Fofana, Silva, James; Kante, Fernandez, Kovacic; Sterling, Joao Felix, Havertz
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Camavinga, Alaba, Militao, Carvajal; Valverde, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, Benzema
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Analysis
How Do Chelsea Threaten Real Madrid?
We saw in the first 20 minutes of their first-leg encounter that Chelsea were able to get at Real Madrid on the break as Real went rampaging forward in an effort to kill off the match early. Perhaps this was a little foolhardy of Ancelotti’s men, as although Chelsea are in poor form and low on confidence, they created two clear chances and arguably should have been ahead. To their credit, Real Madrid made the necessary tactical adjustments and the Chelsea threat was pretty much nullified from that point on.
The issue that Chelsea have is a chronic lack of creativity and flair in attack – the ability to do the unexpected. Most defensively-competent sides have been able to allow Chelsea to play in front of their midfield and quickly shut them down as they enter the final third. None of their attackers, with perhaps the exception of Kai Havertz who is arguably being played out of position, have been able to provide a consistent goal threat beyond receiving the ball in space on occasion and serendipity i.e. a kind run of the ball.
If this seems like a harsh assessment, then the fault lies in their recruitment policy but also in which players are used and when. Shakhtar’s Mudryk was demonstrating his ability to produce the unexpected in their Champions League campaign, and when introduced against Liverpool at Anfield for his debut he looked lively and full of attacking menace. Since then, he has cut a peripheral figure as Chelsea have returned to relying upon Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling and on-loan Joao Felix amongst others to introduce an attacking threat.
It seems to us that the issue here is not their individual quality; it’s their attributes. None of the attacking trio are particularly known for being able to convert half-chances with regularity and creating something from nothing. This doesn’t augur well for a scenario in which Chelsea have to chase the tie. They have a midfield full of excellent technicians but nobody who really stands out as a consistent playmaking threat. In short, Chelsea can be neat and tidy for long periods of the match without actually troubling the opposition.
This Scenario Plays Into Real Madrid’s Hands
With a two-goal lead, facing a Chelsea side that is woefully short of creativity, confidence and a consistent goalscoring threat, we can say that this scenario will suit Ancelotti’s men. Much of the hard work has been done in the first leg of this encounter, and while it’s true that they must avoid complacency by allowing their put-upon opponents an easy way back into the match, we have to acknowledge that Real Madrid are strongly in the ascendency here.
They will know that Chelsea have issues in breaking down defences – both of their clear chances that they managed to create during the first half of the match at the Bernabeu were from quick counters which exposed Real Madrid’s overcommitment. Real were able to adjust, and for much of the match thereafter Chelsea posed little threat. They will also know that another goal will effectively kill the tie off if it isn’t considered to be dead already, and therefore they can be more passive than usual and look to hurt Chelsea in transition as Chelsea have little choice but to attack and effectively ‘see what happens’.
The fact that Chelsea need to score twice against a side with such a potent attacking unit certainly doesn’t help Lampard’s men. They will be risking Real Madrid’s threat in transition for long periods of the match as they seek to chase the game, and they could find the tie beyond them very quickly in such a scenario. Although Chelsea will certainly have a little more belief than that – they’re proud, talented professionals who surely will give it their all under difficult circumstances – we believe that they face an extremely tall order.
Chelsea simply haven’t demonstrated their ability to consistently create a strong attacking threat, and we have to acknowledge that their best chances came via the counter where Real Madrid overcommitted in the first 20 minutes or so – thereafter, they made the appropriate tactical adjustments and were almost in complete command.
Therefore, it’s difficult to envisage Chelsea creating much of anything at all here. Barring a miraculous improvement from their attacking unit and an injection of spontaneity that has hitherto been missing both for much of the campaign and also from Lampard’s first matches in charge, we feel that Real will use Chelsea’s pressure against them and see off the tie in relative comfort. If Chelsea find themselves three or four down on aggregate, we believe the fight will effectively drain out of them, and Real will conserve energy in order to maintain an unlikely La Liga challenge.
Chelsea 0-2 Real Madrid
Chelsea vs Real Madrid – Real Madrid Odds:
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