Kai Havertz to Timo Werner to Hakim Ziyech.
It’s the mixture many Chelsea followers — and board members — have been dreaming of over the summer time because the Blues spent in extra of £150 million ($209 million) to improve their assault.
And although it might have taken the trio till mid-March to mix for an enormous, match-winning second, the great thing about Ziyech’s objective towards Atletico Madrid was definitely worth the wait.
After N’Golo Kante accomplished a clearance from a nook, it was Havertz who performed a pleasant clipped cross into Werner’s path, who in flip drove into house earlier than choosing out Ziyech on the far put up for a simple end.
Chelsea broke the financial institution over the summer time in a bid to not solely problem on the prime of the Premier League desk, but in addition within the Champions League, the place its document has been underwhelming within the seasons since its 2012 triumph.
The expertise inside that aspect slowly dripped away, and it had solely reached the quarterfinals as soon as since, in 2014, earlier than this marketing campaign.
However underneath Thomas Tuchel, the membership already appears prefer it might be a pressure on the continent once more, significantly if its big-money signings have lastly discovered their toes.
Tuchel has introduced defensive solidity to the Blues, and so they have now gone 597 minutes in all competitions with out conceding a objective following their 2-0 win over Diego Simeone’s aspect at Stamford Bridge.
However they’ve lacked magic going ahead, with nearly all of their attacking gamers nonetheless struggling with a hangover from the ultimate weeks of Frank Lampard’s tenure.
Maybe it was becoming, then, that the person as soon as dubbed “The Wizard of Amsterdam,” Ziyech, was the participant to interrupt the impasse in a recreation the place Atletico had precipitated Chelsea some early issues, most notably by way of Joao Felix.
The counterattack for the opener confirmed all of the guile, velocity and killer intuition that Chelsea has been lacking within the closing third, and whether it is to actually problem Europe’s elite, it can want present extra of that to go together with its defensive prowess.
This was Ziyech’s first objective following a 20-game drought, whereas Havertz has netted simply as soon as in his final 25 video games and Werner twice in his final 27.
That isn’t to say that they haven’t been enjoying nicely of late, with Havertz seemingly reborn as a “false 9″‘ and Werner trying way more assured in latest weeks than he did underneath Lampard.
The previous RB Leipzig man’s uncooked statistics for his first season in England — 10 targets and 7 assists — don’t look too dangerous, however the narrative round him continues to counsel he has flopped.
Right here, although, he was a continuing menace, utilizing his tempo to get in behind an Atletico again line that isn’t on the stage of the Diego Godin-led quartet of the mid-2010s.
Ziyech, in the meantime, was pulling out all his previous avenue soccer tips as the sport went on, and Tuchel will hope the Morocco worldwide will be capable to keep this stage heading into the ultimate run-in.
This win, which was capped off in harm time by Emerson Palmieri ending off one other excellent counterattack, was maybe the most effective of Tuchel’s time with the membership, and can give Roman Abramovich hope that he employed the proper man to carry home and continental glory again to west London.
Having proven tactical nous within the first-leg win, the German boss but once more outcoached Simeone — the highest-paid supervisor on the planet — within the return recreation as he grew to become the primary Chelsea supervisor to stay unbeaten by way of their first 13 matches in cost.
No workforce will wish to face his in-form aspect when Friday’s quarterfinal draw is made, and having reached the ultimate final season — albeit in distinctive circumstances — he has expertise of navigating a path by way of the knockout rounds.
Whereas that Paris Saint-Germain workforce was constructed by way of its assault, proper now Chelsea’s foundations are in its protection.
But when the Blues’ summer time buys can construct on their efficiency right here, then all of the sudden Tuchel may have a ahead line able to going one higher than Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in 2020.