Champions League hits and misses: Chelsea, a company that shows adaptability | Football News

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 13: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain and teammate Leandro Paredes celebrate their full time team's victory after the Champions League quarter-final second leg between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Bayern Munich at Parc des Princes on April 13, 2021 in Paris, France.  Sports stadiums around France remain under strict restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, as government social distancing laws ban fans inside venues, resulting in matches behind the cl

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No air and no graces about Chelsea

Christian Pulisic (right) embodied Chelsea’s approach to Porto on Tuesday

As a neutral you would be forgiven if you weren’t too interested in Chelsea’s second leg against Porto. There was some wild attacking football in Paris, after all, and even Thomas Tuchel admitted it wasn’t great for television.

But this company-like Chelsea side have shown their professionalism to play European two-legged football, despite the team’s inexperience. Chelsea full-backs at Sevilla were Reece James, 21, and Ben Chilwell, 24. Their first line of Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount? Only 22, 21 and 22 respectively.

It’s not the age or profile of the players you’d expect to be supremely disciplined, but Chelsea youngsters have resisted the urge to push numbers forward, perhaps aided by a stadium empty.

Without taking into account a rather sublime kick from Mehdi Taremi in the fourth minute of added time, it was almost the perfect performance in the second leg. These first three, focused on attack, knew their role: to slow down the game, win fouls and fight hard.

Pulisic, in particular, was brilliant and responsible for 11 of the 20 fouls Chelsea won. It is not creativity. It is not a silky game. It’s certainly not glorious, unless you’re looking at Tuchel. He barely had a touch in Porto’s area. But it was so necessary to see Chelsea through, in a home game that felt like an away game, and that shows Tuchel’s side have that chameleon-like ability to adapt to their surroundings.

Such is the nature of two-legged football, it will most likely be needed again.
Gerard Brand

Has Poch found the perfect blend of skill and steel?

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG are in the last four of the Champions League

It was hard to ignore one of PSG’s three majestic fronts as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria were all full of invention and quality as Maurico Pochettino’s side booked their place in the bottom four. An overnight 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich was still good enough to manage to score three goals in Germany. If Bayern had scored another to knock them out it would have been a huge injustice. Neymar hit the post and the bar, while Mbappe’s pace behind Bayern’s high line was frightening at times.

However, the most important part of PSG’s performance was going the other way.

The key area where this match was won was the space in front of the four full-backs of PSG. Bayern – mainly through Thomas Muller – are working this part of the pitch so smartly, but there was no way to pass in this game. The PSG defense was expertly protected by Idrissa Gueye, who put on the performance of a lifetime. He has taken his game to another level since his days at Everton, judged on that performance. When he had to stifle danger, he was there. When he had to cover one of his teammates, he was there. Despite all their offensive talent, Gueye is perhaps their most important player in this style under Pochettino.

No player made more tackles than him on the night (six) as he was supported in the engine room by the chic Leandro Paredes, who unleashed numerous counterattacks from PSG with sublime passes in his first three.

PSG now appear to have the platform to support their array of offensive wealth.
Lewis Jones

Is this the end for Flick?

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick
Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick may have pulled off his last Champions League game for the club

No Bayern Munich manager has ever posted a higher winning percentage than Hansi Flick. No, not even Pep Guardiola.

Still, the current boss could have barely managed his last Champions League game for Bayern Munich after being knocked out by PSG.

Since taking over when the club were fourth in the Bundesliga in November 2019, everything Flick previously touched has turned into silverware, winning the treble in the form of the Bundesliga, German Cup and the Champions League. A 12th consecutive Bundesliga title is also looking on the cards, with just six games to go.

Still, Flick’s future is in serious doubt with the 56-year-old the big favorite to replace outgoing Joachim Low as Germany manager after the relationship with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has become. unachievable, according to reports in BILD.

RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is said to be the man to replace Flick, who hasn’t quite dampened talks about his impending departure. He said after the loss of PSG: “My family will always be completely behind me, whatever my decision. Whether everything is going well here or not, you always have to think about it. “
Lewis Jones

Semi-final draw

First steps: April 27/28 | Return match: May 4/5

  • Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester City OU Borussia Dortmund
  • Real Madrid OU Liverpool vs Chelsea

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