Champions League Draw Comes At High Price for Chelsea

By Greg Sulik
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Chelsea went into the away leg of their Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid wanting to avoid conceding a goal more than anything. They were able to accomplish that goal, earning a 0-0 draw that will see the Blues marked as favorites to advance heading into the return leg at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea paid a high price for the result they wanted. Petr Cech and John Terry both left the game with injuries, while Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel picked up yellow cards that will see them suspended for the second leg.

Chelsea have a massive game against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, and a win is absolutely essential if the Blues want to have any chance of winning the Premier League title. They will then entertain Atletico in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday, making this coming week easily the most important of Chelsea’s season. Early reports indicate Cech has a dislocated shoulder, meaning he is extremely unlikely to play in either game. Terry left with either a foot or ankle injury, and his severe limp doesn’t bode well for his chances to play. Finally, without Lampard on the field, Chelsea will be lacking leadership against Atletico.

Eden Hazard may be able to return this weekend, which would be a huge boost to Chelsea’s chances. However, they have lost the backbone of their team with Cech and Terry’s injuries, creating a difficult situation for Jose Mourinho. Mark Schwarzer will have to step up in goal, and David Luiz will fill Terry’s center back spot. However, with Luiz at center back and Lampard, Mikel and the cap tied Nemanja Matic unavailable, Mourinho will have some issues filling out his midfield next Wednesday.

Being realistic, beating Liverpool on the road and trying to fight for a league title is a bit of a stretch, as the Reds are in outstanding form and are the clear favorites to win the Premier League. However, Chelsea have the advantage in the Champions League, and they will be pressing hard to make the final. Unfortunately, two already daunting tasks were made much, much more difficult in today’s game.

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