This is how Chelsea arrives, Real Madrid’s rival in the quarterfinals of the Champions League

The failures have passed but Real Madrid and Chelsea have continued with the firecrackers. If the white team gave up in a humiliating way in the Clásico against Barcelona, ​​so did Thomas Tuchel’s team last weekend against Brentford at Stamford Bridge. Given such a recent past, it is difficult to see where this tie will end.

But what we can talk about is what Chelsea is about as a club and a team right now. Submerged in a tremendous institutional crisis with its still owner, Roman Abramovich, tied hand and foot by the English government and its sanctions on Russian oligarchs and their properties, the London team finds itself at the management level in no man’s land. Contracts cannot be renewed, players cannot be signed, any income the club has is frozen at the expense of what the government decides… And as if that were not enough, any sale of the club has to be approved by the English parliament and its bodies of jurisdiction.

In this context, Andreas Christensen has already signed as a new Barcelona player for next season, Antonio Rudiger will not continue at Cobham either, as he cannot renew his contract, and it remains to be seen how César Azpilicueta’s situation will be defined (by having an option to extend their commitment for one more year, their continuity could be given by not having to sign another agreement). As if that were not enough, the famous signing of Romelu Lukaku has been (for now) a fiasco and the fight for the Premier League is totally ruled out. The wind picks up at Stamford Bridge. The London team lost the League Cup final against Liverpool. And they’ve had serious skids like draws against Burnley, Everton and Brighton at home. In addition to falling in his two direct duels against Manchester City. But it is not yet possible to judge that the season is going to be definitely bad. Because in the end, the context of the Blues is similar to that of last season when Tuchel took charge of the team. And he won the European Cup.

Two tournaments to be decided. An affordable FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace (which

would lead to the final against Manchester City/Liverpool) and this quarter-final tie against Real Madrid. A team that they already defeated last season without too many complications and with an overwhelming feeling of superiority. Despite the tight result of last year, the feeling was that Tuchel’s team was several steps ahead of Zidane’s. And the two teams still have similar identities. Chelsea continues to arm itself with the line of three central defenders led by the eternal Thiago Silva and strengthened by the determination of Rudiger plus a third sword that usually rotates between Christensen, Azpilicueta or Sarr. In midfield, Kanté, Kovacic (in his prime) and Jorginho compete for the two places in the center with different and complementary profiles. On the right Reece James (if Azpilicueta is central) and Marcos Alonso on the left (usual after Ben Chilwell’s injury). The three attack positions have alternatives but no owner. Pulisic’s electricity, Ziyech’s inventiveness, Mount’s leadership, Havertz’s creativity, Lukaku’s presence and Werner’s mobility. A host of great players but without the necessary continuity and conviction to feel indisputable.

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Tuchel has tried to provide another alternative to the team in the last month trying to establish the 4-2-3-1 but without much success. But the tests of different systems have been against small teams. It seems unlikely that he will come out with so little protection against a rival with the experience and essence of Real Madrid. Trying to discard something that worked flawlessly less than a year ago would be foolhardy. It is a team fully aware of its strengths and limitations. Capable of correcting any gap of vulnerability. Prepared to compete against any rival and survive in any situation. Although seeing the vicissitudes that surround the club and that consequently hit the squad, it can be said that it is the last waltz of this generation. And not by age or veteran.

Players will come out. There will be a new property with its plans and ambitions (which is not to say that they will be high), purchases and sales. But until all that arrives, Chelsea is just uncertainty. And the only certainty is your present. The one who goes through this tie and this competition. Beyond the title, the London team is risking its stability in the elite. He is the champion and plays against the king of the tournament. If we go ahead, despite the uncertain context, everything could take on a different look. If they are defeated, the blow of reality will be tremendous in the coming weeks with nothing to fight for in the Premier League and an FA Cup that could end up being a balm or the definitive end of the cycle.

Madrid is still at cruising speed to win the league. But he has fallen in the last two seasons of the Champions League against English teams (the same Chelsea last year and Manchester City in 2020). A new setback against a Premier League team would be a blow of reality and surrender to the best league on the planet. It is their tournament but the catharsis of the fifteen minutes of Paris Saint-Germain seems like a pipe dream against a team like Chelsea. It will take more than belief. It will be necessary to play football well.