They say when it rains, it pours. I did not clearly understand the meaning of this phrase until yesterday when beaten down to the ground by Real Madrid. I am talking about the first leg of the quarterfinals in the Champions League between Chelsea and Real Madrid. This game was billed as a game between two struggling teams. One lost to Barcelona by 4-0 and the other to Brentford by the same scoreline.
It was expected to go either way but remain a close affair throughout the game. It was however anything but a close game.
Chelsea are probably the most unstable club at the top level. Nowhere is managerial changes as usual as at Chelsea? There is always one thing or the other going on at Chelsea/ Despite all this though they keep on winning. Just last year they won the greatest club trophy the Champions League after getting transfer banned just a couple of years ago.
Just a matter of when
This loss however is a punch in the gut from reality and has broken the thin veil of secludedness that protected the club from everything happening off the field. In the last few months, Chelsea have gone from having one of the most supportive owners to having the kind of instability never seen before. The owner, Mr Abramovish has been banned by the UK government and asked to sell Chelsea. Supporters are not allowed in the stadium, the club is not allowed to sell tickets and sanctions have been put in place so no more money could be put into the club.
Add to that the personal misery of Tuchel in the form of divorce from his wife and you get a pressure cooker situation in which no one can perform. The fact that Chelsea were on an unbeaten run after Abramovich’s sanction speaks volumes about the mentality and character of Chelsea players and staff.
This was however expected to happen at some point in time. Because any professional sport is as much about confidence as it is about skill. Confidence which is at an all-time low at Chelsea due to everything going outside of the pitch.
Is the tie still alive?
Tuchel was asked the same question by the press after a 1-3 loss to Real Madrid and he outright said, “no”. This is Real Madrid we are talking about. They are not at their absolute best but even their normal is better than most clubs’ best. To overcome a goals deficit at Bernabeu would be a monumental challenge for any team, more so for a team going through hell.
The tie should be considered almost over given the state Chelsea are in right now. Most fans just want this season to be over and Chelsea’s sale to be done as quickly as possible to a decent owner.
What would be a good finish for Chelsea?
The season has still not ended for Chelsea as they are still in some competitions and most importantly 3rd in the Premier League. The future is going to be financially straining for Chelsea so every bit of money should be of great importance to them at this point.
Playing in the Champions League generates a lot of money for a club and so Chelsea should focus on getting into it for the next year too. At this point, there is a chance of Chelsea’s season imploding which they should avoid at any cost.
A top 4 finish in the Premier League would still count as a good achievement for this season given what they’re going through.