Chelsea’s Champions League campaign got off to a disastrous start as they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid in the quarterfinal first leg. The match was a stark reminder of the lack of quality in Chelsea’s attack, as they were outclassed by Real Madrid’s forward players.
Mykhailo Mudryk, who had made a name for himself with an impressive performance against Real Madrid in a group stage match earlier in the season, was left on the bench for the game. The Ukrainian winger, who joined Chelsea in January for a potential £89m, has yet to score for the club and has struggled to make an impact in his limited appearances. Chelsea’s attack has been a source of frustration for the club all season, with the team struggling to find a consistent goalscorer. They have spent large sums of money on wide players such as Mudryk, Christian Pulisic, and Hakim Ziyech, but none of them have been able to provide the goals the team needs.
In contrast, Real Madrid’s forward players were on fire, with Karim Benzema scoring both goals in the match. Vinícius Júnior was particularly impressive, terrorizing Chelsea’s defenders with his direct running and swerving dribbles. By comparison, Chelsea’s attack looked confused and misshapen, with manager Frank Lampard choosing to leave his top scorer, Kai Havertz, on the bench for the game.
The lack of a clear plan in Chelsea’s attack was painfully evident throughout the match, with the team struggling to create clear-cut chances. João Félix, who joined on loan from Atlético Madrid in January, was particularly disappointing, failing to provide any end product despite showing some neat touches. Chelsea’s performance was a reminder of the work that needs to be done if they are to compete at the highest level. Despite spending large sums of money on attacking players, the team has yet to find a cohesive attacking plan. While players like Mudryk and Félix have shown promise at times, they have yet to provide the goals and creativity the team needs to succeed.
If Chelsea is to progress in the Champions League this season, Lampard will need to find a way to get more out of his attacking players. With the second leg against Real Madrid looming, the team will need to find a way to score at least two goals if they are to stand any chance of progressing. Whether they have the quality in attack to do so remains to be seen.