Real Madrid and Chelsea will play in the Champions League for the third time in a row. While Los Blancos have the same coach as last year (Carlo Ancelotti), Chelsea have already replaced him twice, when Thomas Tuchel was replaced by Graham Potter and the latter by Frank Lampard. What will be the key moments of the quarter-finals?
How to defend the duo of Vinicius – Benzema
The question is what formation Lampard will come up with at the Bernabéu. His predecessor and interim coach Bruno Saltor have both relied on a three-defender formation, Lampard in his only game at the weekend against Wolves relied on the classic 4-3-3 that he preferred in his last engagement.
With this formation, Reece James would have been based on Vinicius, which would probably have been the better option. In fact, Christensen came on at right-back in the first game last season and his duels with the duo of Vinícius – Benzema, who often withdraws to the left wing, were a fiasco.
The Brazilian soon had a huge chance, which he failed to convert. But then Vinícius collided with Benzema, returned his centre in front of goal and he scored. For the second goal, Christensen again failed to watch a run by the Frenchman, who comfortably headed in. Defending this duo will be absolutely crucial for Chelsea.
Enzo vs. Kroos/Modric
It’s no secret that Real Madrid like to be in control of the game. Not to be when they have Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the centre of midfield, who are almost impossible to take the ball from. If they have the composure to invent situations and feel comfortable in the match, it’s deadly for the opponents.
This is what Chelsea felt last season when Modric pulled off a fantastic save out of nowhere and Real went to extra time. Not giving these two an inch of space will be a job for the Premier League’s most expensive player ever, Enzo Fernandez.
The winter signing from Benfica has caught on quite well and is putting in a solid performance. But now he has a huge task ahead of him. This mini-match will also be a factor in the final outcome.
Fast wings on the scene
If there is somewhere Real Madrid has problems this season, it is the edges of the defence. Dani Carvajal is experiencing a weaker season, on the other hand, with Ferland Mendy injured, he is not a steady back. So the rotation in that position is Nacho, David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga.
If there is anything Carvajal has problems with, it is speed equipped wingers. The 31-year-old full-back is losing speed with age and especially with frequent injuries and has struggled against young mobile wingers this season. If Mudryk or Sterling comes on, it could be the way to go for Chelsea.
However, if Lampard, like against Wolves, puts Felix on the left wing, it might not be a problem for Real. Sure, the Portuguese is one of Chelsea’s best offensive players, however, he’s not a speed type, he’s a technical toy that Carvajal can deal with and moreover, he’s defended successfully in the Madrid derby on several occasions. Thus, Félix’s position should be more from the middle.
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