Chelsea’s first semi-final in seven years ended 1-1 on the night in Madrid. If you had asked me prior to kick off if I would have taken that result, I would be mad to say no. A draw and a crucial away goal? Hell yeah! But that wonderful performance from Chelsea definitely deserved more than that.
That being said, Chelsea extended their unbeaten run against Real Madrid in UEFA competitions to four games, not that that is very relevant, but it makes me optimistic that Thomas Tuchel’s men will come away with a result in the second leg. Speaking of Tuchel, if we were rating managers today, he would get an easy 10/10 from me. His tactical preparation and the way he set up the team was perfect. Not only that, but he also made the right substitutions as well, with all three players having a positive impact on the game. Let’s take a look at how his troops performed on an individual level.
Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper): 6.5/10
Edouard Mendy went into the game as the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the Champions League (seven). He will be disappointed that the only shot Real Madrid had on target was the one Chelsea conceded from. He did not have much to do in the game as Zinedine Zidane’s side registered the fewest shots in a Champions League semi-final since 2003, but Mendy was good on the ball, knowing when to play out of the back and when to play a long ball.
Andreas Christensen (Right Centerback): 7/10
Playing in the right centerback role usually occupied by club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen was tasked with dealing with Vinicius Junior and his lightning pace. The Dane did so with ease and put in yet another great performance. He made three interceptions and clearances each which capped off another good night for the Chelsea academy graduate, proving that he can perform on the biggest of stages.
Thiago Silva (Centerback): 7/10
The aging Brazilian did not look out of place for one second. His experience and composure on the ball were both extremely important in today’s performance. Silva played a very crucial role in Chelsea’s build up. He calming presence and 92.5% passing accuracy meant that Chelsea played through Real Madrid’s press with ease.
Antonio Rudiger (Left Centerback): 8/10
Antonio Rudiger certainly brought the “hustle” tonight. His perfectly weighted through pass to Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea an early lead and the crucial away goal. That gave him the confidence to look for the long pass over and over, completing six out of 10 long passes on the night. If only Timo Werner had his confidence.