Chelsea confirm status of best defense in Europe

Chelsea confirm status of best defense in Europe

London’s Chelsea defeated Atletico Madrid 2:0 in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, after an away victory 0:1.

Initially, the line-ups and rosters of the teams did not differ much from those that were three weeks ago. Chelsea came out with the usual 3-4-2-1 formation, which in many ways resembled Atalanta, but only in the attacking phase. In defense, the English team was much more prosaic and reliable thanks to the clearer selection of people and tactical simplicity of Thomas Tuchel in defense.

Atlético initially came out to win the confrontation with a 4-2-2 formation with Felish and Suarez at the fore. But for the first quarter, the Londoners confidently restrained the efforts of Diego Simeone's team and used zones on counterattacks. One of them ended with a goal in the 34th minute after Havertz cut the Mattress Makers’ defense with his pass to running Timo Werner, who rolled the ball to Ziyech. The Moroccan, in turn, struck Jan Oblak.

Despite the quantitative exchange in the midfield, Chelsea's players were notoriously superior in terms of skill. This was shown on the pitch. But at the same time, the Londoners had a clear advantage in counterattacks. In the second half, Simeone tried to neutralize the hosts' advantage by rebuilding to the same 3-4-2-1, trying to mirror Tuchel's formation. He replaced Renan Lodi by releasing Hermoso and then sent Moussa Dembele to the pitch instead of Carrasco.

But even this did not help the guests, because with the correct quantitative exchange, the Chelsea players turned out to be qualitatively stronger and more savvy. Kante and Kovacic devoured attacks through the center, while Rudiger suppressed attacks in the penalty area reliably and out of the way. All the moments in the second half that Atletico created were Joao Felix's, but they were also successfully leveled by Mendy.

The culmination of the confrontation was Savic's direct red card for nodding his elbow at Rudiger, although both deserved yellows for provocation and consequence, respectively. On this, the whole intrigue of the confrontation was killed, although in extra time Emerson destroyed it completely, scoring in another counterattack.

Thus Chelsea pass Atletico with two successful counterattacks in the second leg. Tuchel neutralized and took advantage of the main advantages of Atletico. Now Chelsea are rightfully the main defensive force in Europe. The Londoners have every chance of getting as far as possible in the Champions League, based on the results of the first stage of the playoffs.