The Champions League round of 16 against Atletico Madrid in Bucharest has always been a close affair, and that’s exactly how it turned out.
It was the blues that managed to gain a foothold in the game when Olivier Giroud scored an excellent overhead kick in the 71st minute after a long VAR check that initially left the goal offside.
They managed to see the game from there and put a 1-0 advantage – and an away goal – into the second leg.
Chelsea had ample possession of the ball, with Diego Simeone’s side falling deep for a long time. Chelsea had the best chances of the game and it’s a huge bonus that Giroud made it to the top scorer list. Although Atletico had half their chances, there weren’t too many vacancies for the home team and Edouard Mendy was rarely used.
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Chelsea were absolutely terrible at the start of the game and could easily have scored a goal in the first few minutes. Part of this was due to them dropping the ball in dangerous areas. Eventually, Mason Mount and Jorginho will miss the second leg due to bookings in that game.
Manager rating of 10
8 – Thomas Tuchel’s decision-making has been challenged after hitting Callum Hudson-Odoi hard in the last game but it certainly won’t be here. The German side faced a very determined team from Atletico Madrid and showed a lot of discipline while also scoring the goal that gave them an advantage in the return leg.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes are not rated)
GK Edouard Mendy, 5 – Often looked uncomfortable. Got released in two minutes after a bad touch and some of his kicks weren’t the best. His stop was not tested too much.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 8 – Stepped well off the backline when Chelsea had the ball or when following a home attacker who fell deep. Did a good job keeping Joao Felix calm.
DF Andreas Christensen, 7 – Occasionally gave away silly fouls but was disciplined and determined in his defense.
DF Antonio Rüdiger, 8 – Made some wonderful long passes and held up defensive and made an excellent block shortly after Giroud’s goal – although he was scared when Luis Suarez expropriated him early. He almost lost his cool with the Uruguayan.
MF Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7- Had a fascinating fight with Thomas Lemar, both doing well on their defensive responsibilities. The Londoner also offered a threat for the future.
MF Jorginho, 6 – He had a lot of good ideas with his death, but the execution was just not okay, as it was when he tried to release Mount and Hudson-Odoi. Booked for a foul on Felix.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 – The Croat showed a combative performance and made some good runs forward, but his decision-making could have been a little better in some places.
M.F Marcos Alonso, 7 – There are sometimes questions about his defensive skills, but Alonso was brilliant in that regard. He put his head on some uncomfortable balls and stayed calm in 1 on 1. Real quality with some of his crossings.
Olivier Giroud once again produced the spectacular, his moment of brilliance the difference in a hard-fought first leg against Atletico Madrid. Getty
FW Mason Mount, 7 – I booked a minute for a foul on Felix but continued to make an impression on Chelsea. Association the game wonderfully on points and his fight resulted in Giroud’s goal.
FW Olivier Giroud, 8 – Holds the ball up well at certain points but was always surrounded when it was in a decent position. However, with a wonderful overhead kick, he took his best chance.
FW Timo Werner, 6 – Missed a good chance early on but always showed up for the ball and looked very sharp in many of his games.
MF Hakim Ziyech, N / R – Replaced Kovacic in the 74th minute and saw his best attempt blocked from a distance.
MF N’Golo Kante, N / R – Replaced Mount in the 74th minute and immediately went to work to end Atletico’s game.
DF Reece James, N / R – Came in for Hudson-Odoi in the 80th minute and filled in to make it more of a back five as Chelsea saw the game.
MF Kai Havertz, N / R – In his three minutes on the field, he made up some clever details to help Chelsea see the game better.
MF Christian Pulisic, N / R – The American got a late run-out and was smart in his game when he pulled a foul from Lemar.