Real Madrid vs Chelsea UCL preview
The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals kickoff. And what a fixture this has proven to be in the last two seasons. A fact that has gone under the noses of many football experts and fans is that, the winner of this tie in the past two seasons has gone on to win the whole thing.
That gives this clash an added edge, if it was not already a lip-smacking fixture. Chelsea won 3-1 on aggregate in 2021 against Los Blancos, only for Ancelotti’s men to get their revenge in 2022, beating the London club 5-4 in the tightest of affairs.
Speaking of the respective teams’ domestic campaigns, Real Madrid have had a very indifferent season. The 14-time UCL Champions have struggled to keep up with the pace of rivals Barcelona in La Liga, sitting 15 points off the top. Although they made up for it recently with a 4-0 Camp Nou demolition to go on to the Copa del Rey finals, Real Madrid will only truly be judged by how well they end their European campaign.
On the other hand, Chelsea have had their worst-ever campaign since the early 1990s. A debut season to forget for the new owners as well, after they acquired the club from former owner Roman Abramovich for a record sum. Todd Boehly – Chelsea’s new co-owner – has pumped in vast sums of money and The Blues somehow are languishing in the bottom-half of the Premier League table. Graham Potter was sacked last week following. a calamitous spell at the West-London club, and Frank Lampard was hired on an interim basis.
The club legend will have his work cut out inspiring this bunch of players having performed nowhere near the standards they are capable of. Lampard himself had been part of the squads to have played under two interim managers – one of which went on the win the Champions League. He will no doubt want to put his own experience in these kinds of situations.
If anything, this fixture is one that can never be dull and fans can expect a nail-biting affair between these two clubs. Whether once again the winner of this tie goes on to win the entire thing is still to be seen, but a win here will boost morale for either set of players for what has been a season to forget.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea – Team news
Injuries haven’t helped Chelsea this season. Graham Potter had to use a total of 32 players during his 7-month reign as Chelsea manager – most of which were due to injuries. N’Golo Kante, arguably The Blues’ best player is back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and will no doubt be a boost to Frank Lampard and his side.
Other players who will miss out on the all-important clash are Armando Broja – who is out for the season after having his knee surgery. Mason Mount is also set to miss the Real Madrid match following another thigh injury. Other absentees are the experienced defensive duo of Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpillicueta, for whom the fixture comes a bit too soon.
Predicted Chelsea lineup: Kepa, Chalobah, W.Fofana, Koulibaly, James, Enzo, Kante, Chilwell, Mudryk, Felix, Sterling
#Chelsea lose to Wolves under Frank Lampard's 1st game back as interim manager🙃#CFC #Lampard #WolChe pic.twitter.com/22592kYaiC
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) April 8, 2023
Like Chelsea, Real Madrid and Ancelotti do not have an excuse for their injury concerns. For the most part of the season, Los Blancos have had a fully fit squad, barring one or two injury exceptions. Similarly, they have almost a fully fit squad for the Chelsea clash, except for Ferland Mendy, who is still recovering from a muscle injury.
Predicted Real Madrid lineup: Courtois, Carvajal, Rudiger, Militao, Alaba, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Madrid vs Chelsea – Key players
Real Madrid – Karim Benzema
Who else would it be? One of the very few positives from Chelsea’s rather disastrous season has been their water-tight defence. Chelsea have conceded only 31 goals in the league this season, with only the top 3 of Arsenal, Man City and Newcastle conceding fewer than them. Chelsea might struggle in the fina-third but breaking them down in their own defensive third is a tall order on its own. Enter Karim Benzema. The Frenchman is having another stellar season with 22 goals from 22 appearances in all competitions. He will be key if Madrid have any chance of putting the ball in the back of Chelsea’s net.
Chelsea – Reece James
Rather Chelsea’s only shining light in attack this season, and he is a right-back. Reece James has had his own share of injury concerns this term, but when fit, he almost carries this entire Chelsea team on his back. His contributions on both ends of the pitch cannot be stressed enough, and if Chelsea have any chance of progressing into the UCL semis. James will have to be fit and firing.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea UCL prediction
Like mentioned earlier, the winner of this clash has won the competition in the last 2 UCL campaigns and this time might be no different. Although, both these clubs are going through a difficult phase and a win here will do a world of good in getting over the line for this season.
Real Madrid have shown exactly why they are called the King of Europe. Meanwhile, Chelsea are capable of staging comebacks of their own when it comes to European knockout games. Expect this to be a tight affair like the past four games between them. FootTheBall says Real Madrid 0-0 Chelsea.