By Emma Hartley
Chelsea drew 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, leg one of the semi-final all thanks to a goal from Pedro. The Blues will now travel back to Stamford Bridge with an away goal as an advantage.
1)A very impressive performance from the Blues
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea side had a very impressive performance tonight and certainly put out a good fight. The players were up for it and it was clear to see they are eager to bank that place in the final. Sarri blamed the Chelsea players several months ago for being unmotivated and that has been seen in some performances in the Premier League and in the Cups however, that certainly wasn’t the case tonight. The Chelsea side fought for the badge and I doubt many Chelsea fans will be disappointed with that performance. Some may even say that the Blues were unlucky not to get the win tonight. Now the South West London side will be happy that the away leg is done and out of the way as it was a tough ground for them to go to tonight. The atmosphere was incredible from the Eintracht Frankfurt fans and the display the fans put out for their team before the game was breathtaking. Therefore, the boys will be happy to have got the job done and finished there.
Photo- @ChelseaFC- Twitter
2) Eden Hazard didn’t start for the Blues tonight
Much to Chelsea fans shock the main man Eden Hazard didn’t start for the Blues tonight. The Belgian was not named on the starting eleven team sheet and instead Willian and Pedro started in Midfield behind Olivier Giroud. This was a shock due to the massive game this was as, a semi-final is a huge game. Even though this was the case the Blues did miss him and 61 minutes in Sarri brought off Willian and brought on Hazard. Hazard contributed positively to the team when he came on and you couldn’t miss him, he contributed to both David Luiz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek nearly scoring within the space of two minutes which is truly incredible. This will not go unnoticed and it is a concern for the team and Chelsea fans if he were to go in the summer because he is heavily relied upon and he is the type of player to change a game. If Chelsea didn’t bring him on the outcome of the match could have possibly been different.
In the press conference after the game Sarri explained why he didn’t start Eden Hazard. He said: ‘’This match was number 59 I think and Hazard also played eight matches in the national team. For a player it’s impossible to play 70, 75 matches in a season. Sometimes Hazard, like all the other players, needs to not play for 90 minutes. This is the first reason. The second is that Eden is usually able to change the match from the bench. For me it was better to start with Willian and try in the last 30 minutes with Eden.’’
The Chelsea boss then went on to explain how Eden reacted to being dropped.He said: ‘‘In the meeting before the match. Usually I don’t speak with the players that I put on the bench. Eden is a player – probably the best – but he is a player. Otherwise I have to speak to every player. He was in the dressing room as usual joking. He was normal. He knows very well sometimes he has to rest.’’
3) Pedro’s goal ensured Chelsea got a draw
Chelsea went 1-0 down 23 minutes into the game. Luka Jović scored for Eintracht Frankfurt with a header which went straight past Kepa and into the bottom of the net. However, Chelsea kept fighting and ensured they got a goal back. Pedro scored just before half time to put the blues back into the game and in the second half no goals were scored so it ended 1-1.
Photo- @ChelseaFC- Twitter
4) Ruben Loftus-Cheek put out an impressive display
Ruben Loftus-Cheek had yet another impressive performance for Chelsea again tonight. He has been a great player for the Blues this season and has been extremely impressive particularly in the Europa League. He contributed to the team very positively tonight and he was certainly a stand out player for them. Sarri was very happy with how he played. He also explained why he substituted the youngster and replaced him with Mateo Kovačić with nine minutes to go before the end of the game. He said: ‘’He is a very important player. He has improved a lot during the season. When he is at the top physically, he is a very important player for us. It’s not easy for him to train with consistency because of his back, but in this match, he was really fit. Unfortunately, with 10 minutes to go he had cramp and asked for a substitution.’’
Photo- @ChelseaFC- Twitter
5) Chelsea have an advantage going into the second leg of this semi-final tie
Now the Blues are in a very good position heading into the second leg of this Europa League tie. They have the home advantage but also, they have an away goal. Therefore, they have set themselves up into a nice position to take them on again next Thursday at Stamford Bridge where it is all to play for. Next week will decide whether Chelsea will go into the final or Eintracht Frankfurt. Either team will play Arsenal or Valenica in the final depending on what team gets through in that tie. Arsenal won 3-1 in their first leg against Valencia at the Emirates tonight.
Sarri said: ”I want the final against any team, Arsenal or Valencia. For me it’s exactly the same. I want the final and this time I don’t want to play the final, I want to win.”
He then went on to say: ‘’Three months ago we were in trouble in a difficult championship. It’s not easy to react. We were able to react. Now in the last 15 days of the season we are fighting for the top four, and we are fighting to reach the final of the Europa League. At the end of the season we deserve a trophy.’’
Next week is huge for the Chelsea side who will be very eager to win this piece of silverware this season.
Featured image- @ChelseaFC- Twitter