The Chelsea – Real Madrid knockout of tonight is a reunion between two teams that already faced each other off last season in the Champions League semifinals, as the ‘Blues’ beat the ‘Whites’ by an average of 3-1 and ended up lifting the trophy.
It was a radically different context compared to now: the team by then of Zinedine Zidane got to that knockout really tired and found themselves crushed by the physical display from the squad of Thomas Tuchel. It is not like the Real Madrid of Ancelotti are now in perfect shape either, but the situation in the club from London has really changed in just a year.
They are not that irruption coached by a coached that transformed an entire team in a record period of time in order to surprise Europe. Now the club is going through a complex institutional situation that is being reflected on the field.
“They are the same players, but last year they were in a great streak and this year they are struggling more. We know what we can do and we expect to do it”
Thibaut Courtois in press conference
This Chelsea – Real Madrid is a very tight and unpredictable knockout, at 50%, where we must see if Real Madrid are able to put up with the English pace in a double game against a team that is struggling right now. This is very similar to their duel against Liverpool last season in the quarter finals.
Chelsea are out of the race for the Premier League title, but are within the ‘Top 4’. Madrid have LaLiga in their hands. Non of them have the obligation to win this competition, as Real Madrid have had to several times, in order to save the season. Actually, both of them have almost done their job.
“It has nothing to do with this game”
Thomas Tuchel on last season’s knockout
Certainly, aspects such as playing in front of fans, and both team’s institutional and sporting situation make us think that, if Chelsea were favorites last season, now the knockout will be decided for small details. Blue or White?
Main image: José Manuel Calviño.
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