Real Madrid host Chelsea at Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night. Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate in the last round and are looking to retain their UEFA Champions League crown. The Blues have had a terrible season but they won at the Bernabeu last season and will hope for a miracle under interim coach Frank Lampard.
Real Madrid Form
Madrid’s form has been inconsistent for most of this season. They’ve lost six of 24 matches since the World Cup break in all competitions. In La Liga, they’ve won just eight of their last 17 matches and just two of their last six, placing them 13 points behind Barcelona with ten fixtures left to play. Carlo Ancelotti’s side thrashed Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield and won the return leg 1-0 at home.
Between those legs, they lost 1-0 at home to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. After the second leg, they were beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in La Liga. They bounced back by thrashing Real Valladolid 6-0 at home and going to the Camp Nou and beating Barcelona 4-0 in the cup second to progress 4-1 on aggregate. Over the weekend, Los Blancos lost 3-2 at home to Villarreal.
Real Madrid Team News
Ferland Mendy is missing the tie but Carlo Ancelotti has three different options to replace him. Either David Alaba could play there with Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao centrally or Nacho could cover at left back. Eduardo Camavinga has deputised in a couple of recent fixtures but he is more likely to move into midfield.
The choices further forward are between Rodrygo and Fede Valverde on the right flank, and either Camavinga or Aurélien Tchouaméni alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in midfield. The latter duo played no minutes over the weekend and neither did Dani Carvajal, so those three will be fully fresh.
Real Madrid Motivation
Ancelotti’s side will go all out to win this first leg. They will want a win by a couple of goals ahead of going to London.
Real will look to keep the ball in deeper areas and bait the Blues out of position.
Chelsea have largely been in dire form. Graham Potter oversaw a run of one win in 11 matches before winning three on the bounce, including a 2-0 home win against Dortmund to progress in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. A somewhat fortunate 3-1 win at Leicester followed, despite 2.52 Expected Goals allowed.
After two bad home results, 2-2 vs Everton (having led twice) and a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, Potter was sacked with the Blues in the 11th spot. They have played two matches since, the first drawing 0-0 at home with Liverpool with Bruno Saltor in caretaker charge. After Frank Lampard took over as interim coach, he couldn’t stop the rot as Chelsea lost 1-0 at Wolves in his first match back in charge.
Chelsea Team News
Frank Lampard has seen Thiago Silva return to training but this match may come too soon for him. Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount could return to the bench after minor injuries. Benoit Badiashile is ineligible for Europe and so are forwards Noni Madueke and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
N’Golo Kante was rested over the weekend and should be fresh to start this match. Chelsea look set to revert to a back three for this one with Ben Chilwell returning to the XI. Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix could be battling for one starting spot next to Kai Havertz.
The Blues will hope to leave Madrid with so chance of progression in the second leg. A one-goal defeat may be an acceptable result before taking Los Blancos to Stamford Bridge.
Lampard could set his side up defensively in this one. If he uses a back four and an open style, then Chelsea could be beaten heavily.
Real Madrid have won 8 of their last 9 home UCL matches
Real Madrid have scored 17 goals in their last 6 matches
Real Madrid’s Benzema has scored 6 goals in his last 3 matches
CFC have failed to score in 13 of their last 22 matches (all comps)
CFC have scored 2 goals in a match just 4 times in their last 22 fixtures
Chelsea have won 4 of their last 6 away UCL matches, including at Real Madrid (April 2022)
This match looks very likely to be won by Real Madrid. Chelsea will hope to keep it tight and to give themselves a chance in the second leg. Benzema has netted two recent hattricks and scored home and away against Chelsea last season and Liverpool this season.