Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea - Solid defensive display but at major cost.
Chelsea produced a fantastic defensive display in Madrid last night and battled their way to a 0-...
Chelsea produced a fantastic defensive display in Madrid last night and battled their way to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of our Champions League semi final against Atletico. However, the ninety minutes have proven costly with injuries to Petr Cech and John Terry and suspensions to Frank Lampard and Mikel.
To a man Chelsea worked so hard for the team and for each other. Everyone gave their all and remained focused, disciplined and played their part. Jose Mourinho set his team up to make life difficult for our opponents but if possible, look to hit them on the counter attack. We managed to deliver the first part of the plan but not so much the second part. But for a couple of corners or direct free kicks in dangerous areas, we never really looked threatening.
Atletico produced a couple of moments as they managed to get the ball into the box and win headers on goal but neither Petr Cech or Mark Schwarzer who replaced him in the first half, looked in danger.
You have to hand it to Schwarzer and the players who have remained on the outskirts of the side last night. Schwarzer could and should have done better with the first Sunderland goal last weekend but last night, every time he was asked to come off his line and collect the ball when we were under pressure, he did.
Ashley Cole has hardly played and was outstanding, as if he had never been out of the side. He kept his defensive shape and at times, broke forward reading the situation and won the ball higher up the pitch to stop their attacks and start a Chelsea counter attack.
Mikel was another who was fantastic. When we were really under pressure, he worked with Gary Cahill and John Terry to drop into the back four and won numerous headers to clear our lines.
Before JT's injury, both he and Gary Cahill had marshaled their forward line and dealt with anything that came into the box. Always talking, always organising, Chelsea had a blue wall that seemed to be impenetrable.
Gary Cahill deserves another mention for his display. I could write man for man but Cahill was my man of the match in the way he dealt with Diego Costa, always being in the right place at the right time and once again, outstanding.
As I said, to a man, Chelsea were outstanding and even Fernando Torres who fought a lone battle up top, worked his socks off and had no problem with running at the defenders, giving them something to think about.
So on one side we have a solid impressive performance and such a positive from it and on the flip side we now have the injuries to Petr Cech (Dislocated Shoulder) and John Terry (Ankle). Jose Mourinho stated after the game that Cech is out for the season and only if we make it to the final, Terry could play again.
In addition to that, both Frank Lampard and Mikel picked up yellow cards and are both out of the return leg on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge. Four players from tonight out!
This is a time for the Chelsea squad to pull together once again to come through next week. We need Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o back without question. We have Branislav Ivanovic available again which is important but Jose Mourinho will need to pull together all his resources for the return game.
I still believe that Chelsea can do it. I still believe that we can play a much different game going forward than we have done tonight because this game was all about getting the job done.
As for tonight, Job done if at some cost, Job done!