Chelsea v. Galatasaray Preview
Chelsea will be heading into the second leg with a 1-1 advantage off aggregate over Galatasaray this Tuesday and are looking to capitalize with their home field advantage to move on to the quarter finals.
Ever since their last meeting, Chelsea put away Fulham and Tottenham at ease with a combined score of 7-1. However, they hit a wall last Saturday in a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, putting themselves in a vulnerable spot at the top of the table.
Galatasaray on the otherhand has been battling inconsistency, drawing with Rizespor in their first league match after Champions League, thrashing Aksihar Belediyespor 6-1, and then tying 0-0 against the lowly Karabukspor.
Here are the keys to the match
- Capitalize on the counter-attack. With Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle manning the flanks and possibly Torres playing up top, Chelsea have enough speed and decent finishers who will keep the Galatasaray defenders on their toes. The Galatasaray fullbacks, Alex Telles and Emmanuel Eboue, have a habit of playing out of their position while center back Hakan Balta has a habit of ball watching. Exposing the wings and moving the ball towards the center during a counterattack shouldn’t be too difficult for Chelsea.
- His name is Eden Hazard, not Eden Haphazard. Hazard doesn’t have to play cautiously whenever he brings the ball up. Galatasaray has a history of being exposed by teams that feature solid wingers. Hazard, being one of the best wingers in the world, must assert himself whenever he’s marked by the likes of Eboue, Felipe Melo, or Aurelian Chedjou. That means put on a fancy display of footwork and make them eat dust with his pace.
- Unnerve The Opponents. Home ground advantage will not only work in Chelsea’s favor, but it will put Galatasaray in a huge disadvantage. Their opponent has a tendency to struggle against lowly clubs on the road. Two goals is more than enough to put them away.
- Get Hungry. Saturday’s loss against Aston Villa, which saw their manager sent off and playing with nine men on the pitch, should serve as a motivation to get back on their feet. Chelsea still has a chance to win the Premier League trophy and take the UEFA Champions League. Win convincingly and erase doubts as to whether their season is collapsing.
- Possession is the best Defense. As seen from their last meeting, Galatasaray saw a drastic improvement in their play when they subbed out winger Izet Hajrovic for central midfielder Yekta Kurtulus. The Lions should reinforce the midfield and play to maintain possession and attack from the middle. Playing from the wings was never their specialty anyways.
- Don’t Start Burak Yilmaz. As sad as that sounds, the leading scorer in last season’s UEFA Champions League has been struggling in both league and European competition. Yilmaz has been goalless the last four matches and it doesn’t seem like he could factor in tomorrow’s match. It might be better to pair Umut “Keyser Soze” Bulut with the consistent Didier Drogba. Bulut at least has the work rate and pace to give the Chelsea backline some trouble.
- No Margin for Error on Defense. In some strange case where Hakan Balta starts in the backline alongside Aurelia Chedjou, Balta cannot afford to watch the ball and get beat by whoever he is marking. Since Chedjou is more inclined to move forward to help on the attack with his passing, Balta has to be alert and know how to break up a counterattack. Also Telles and Eboue cannot afford to play out of position. If you’re facing the likes of Eden Hazard, it’s best if you stay alert.
- Felipe Melo is the X-Factor. If Felipe Melo does a great job in staying in position, winning the ball away from the attack, and getting a pass to a holding midfielder then Galatasaray should be able to play their game at ease. That is a big IF though.
Galatasaray will not put on a decent display like they did in the first leg since this is a team that plays with their heart on their sleeves. They have the capability to upset London-based club but there is something about playing at away that is a significant disadvantage for the Aslan than it should be. Chelsea will capitalize on the Turkish outfit and put on a show at home.
Chelsea 3 – Galatasaray 0