Date: Wednesday 12th April 2023
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
It wasn’t the best start for Frank Lampard as our caretaker manager at the weekend, with a defeat to Wolves at Molineux. It definitely wasn’t the best preparation for a Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid either, but here we are. The state of us right now, it’s hard to believe we won this tournament just 2 years ago.
We beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last season, but we were a different beast even just 12 months ago, and realistically, we should have got more out of the 2 legs than we eventually did. In this year’s competition, Potter pulled off a surprising turnaround to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to get us to this stage, Real Madrid meanwhile, battered Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate, so we could be in for a hiding here.
One thing is for sure, barring some kind of football miracle, we won’t find ourselves at this stage again next season, so if we go out of the Champions League without a fight in this tie, then the players don’t deserve to be playing at this level in any case.
Going into tonight’s game, Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, says “Everyone recognises that I am ‘fantastic’ in man-management, but there are other things. This. Team. Is. Well. Worked. Because if we have the good fortune to win the Copa del Rey this season, this team will have won every trophy possible in two years. There are some teams that do not win that in a lifetime.
I have a fantastic memory of [Chelsea], of the people that are still working there. I’m a supporter of Chelsea, of course, because I spent two really nice years there. I hope that Lampard is able to do a fantastic job with them. He has 20 years’ less experience [than me], but that will not change what will happen in the game. He was a fantastic player, extraordinary, he knows very well what can happen in these games but experience, in these matches, I don’t think counts for much. He arrived at the club a week ago, with a lot of players that he already knew. I think he’ll do well in the time that he’s at Chelsea.”
Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, meanwhile, says “I’ve been fortunate enough to manage in the Champions League for two seasons. As a player, it was always the special competition, so to be here as a manager – particularly when a week ago today I didn’t know I’d be here – is a huge honour, and a big part of my thought process of taking on the challenge here. It’s an amazing challenge for me personally as well as obviously for us as a team and a club. I’m really looking forward to the occasion myself.
The Premier League is one of the greatest challenges in world football, and those challenges have obviously taken us to a place we don’t want to be as Chelsea. I think the Champions League sometimes offers you a bit of escapism from that – a different speed of game, knockout football, those things can all contribute to getting different success in the same season. There’s pressure on both teams due to the size of both clubs. Are Real Madrid favourites? Yes. [But] there’s no better carrot in football than trying to prove people wrong. I think that’s a nice challenge for us. I’m not worried about that, in terms of pressure. Football at this level is pressure and if you can’t handle it, you’re not a big club or big player.”
For Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (calf) is the only absentee and Ancelotti’s starting XI will be well rested for this game.
For Chelsea, Armando Broja (ACL), and Cesar Azpilicueta (knee) remain out. Mason Mount (abdominal), Thiago Silva (knee) and N’Golo Kante are all available.
REAL MADRID (Possible line-up): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Modric, Camavinga, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; James, Fofana, Kouliably, Chilwell; Kovacic, Kante, Enzo, Mount; Felix, Havertz
Real Madrid 2-3 Chelsea (12th April 2022)
REAL MADRID: WDLWWW
- Real Madrid have won four of their last nine games in all competitions.
- Chelsea are without a win in four games.
- Real Madrid progressed against Chelsea at this stage last season.
- Chelsea won this away fixture last season.
- Real Madrid will be aiming to eliminate an English team from a knockout tie for the fourth time in a row
Sportsmole: Real Madrid 3-1 Chelsea