How many times have we heard the word ‘unprecedented’ over the last 12 months?
Alright, we get it, we’re being forced to live through one of the most mental periods in the history of the world – stop reminding us how ‘unprecedented’ it all is.
That being said, no matter how bad things get, you can always rely on certain teams to churn out the same old meltdowns that they’ve become synonymous with over the years. Take Chelsea for example, they’ve enjoyed their fair share of success in recent times, but no matter how good things get we all know there’s a collapse on the horizon.
Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge had seen the Blues embark on a fine run of form – picking up ten wins and four draws in the German’s first 14 games at the helm – but Saturday’s embarrassing 5-2 defeat to Premier League strugglers West Brom left their unbeaten run in tatters.
Shortly after the humiliating defeat to Sam Allardyce’s side, Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga decided it would be a good idea to have a fight at the club’s training ground, with Tuchel ultimately forced to send his compatriot home from the session.
Here we go! The meltdown is in full swing, this is what we expect to see! Well, we thought it was…
Chelsea headed to Sevilla on Wednesday evening to face Porto in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie. While Tuchel’s side have recently given themselves a good shot of achieving Champions League qualification via their league standing, the chance to dine at Europe’s top table next season could also be secured by winning this year’s competition.
With a relatively straight forward tie against Porto in the last eight, the Champions League represents a great opportunity for Chelsea to book their place in next season’s edition of the competition, so defeat in Sevilla would have been the perfect way to really kick-start the collapse.
Instead they went and produced a professional performance and pretty much cemented their place in the last four of the competition. Huh? This wasn’t meant to happen.
Tuchel’s side never really looked like being tested by their Portuguese opposition, and when Mason Mount produced a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock it suddenly started to look like a case of will Chelsea score enough to end the tonight or not?
While the Blues didn’t really create a whole host of gilt-edged opportunities, they looked solid defensively and had enough quality going forward to keep the Porto backline busy. A seemingly tepid piece of build-up play sparked into life with ten minutes to play as Olivier Giroud smashed the crossbar, before Ben Chilwell capped off a superb night’s work.
The England left-back pounced on a mistake by Porto midfielder Jesus Corona, carrying the ball past Agustin Marchesin before tapping into an empty net.
While a two-goal lead obviously doesn’t mean Chelsea can afford to take their eye off the ball going into the second leg, Porto’s performance did little to suggest Tuchel’s side have anything to worry about.
Was it scintillating? No. Have they absolutely put the tie to bed? No. Did they produce about as accomplished a performance as you could ask from a side given they recently suffered their first defeat under their new boss and needed to steady the ship? Absolutely.
The commitment and desire of Chelsea squads of the past have often been called into question, with the current squad’s attitude also questioned at times, but the Blues’ display against Porto was full of character and they can be pleased with their work.
These really are unprecedented times.