Chelsea has a date with German champions Bayern Munich in a Champions League last 16 clashes on Tuesday. The 2012 winners will be up against the same opponent they defeated to win their first Champions League title. Chelsea, undoubtedly an underdog going into this game considering the form the Blues are in, the Blues have struggled for form, lost key players to injuries in recent weeks and the Bavarians are flying high after a dismal start to the season, they now top the Bundesliga table, going into the game, most football enthusiasts believe Bayern will have an easy stroll in the park against Chelsea. However, this won’t be the first time Chelsea has found themselves in an underdog position against Bayern Munich, the same situation they were in the 2012 UCL finals which the Blues eventually ran out winners.
Defeating Bayern Munich again will become a major career highlight for Blues Coach Frank Lampard but this time as a manager, it looks possible but it comes with a price if only Lampard makes some big decisions.
Keep faith with Giroud
Having spent much of the season on the bench, Olivier Giroud came back into the Chelsea first team with a bang as he scored the opening goal against Tottenham on Saturday in his first Premier League start since November. Tammy Abraham was given the chance by Lampard to lead the line ahead of the French World Cup winner but an injury to the England international and the ineffective form of Michy Batshuayi gave Giroud a second chance.
He made the most of it with a lethal first-half finish in the vital 2-1 win over Tottenham, producing an impressive performance that might have given Lampard food for thought.
Now Lampard must decide if Giroud, whose lack of match action meant he could only last 70 minutes against Tottenham, is capable of replicating another brilliant display against Bayern.
Chelsea, who has lacked a cutting edge for much of the season in home games, certainly looked more dynamic with Giroud leading the line in the build to their first win in five league matches.
And in the back of his mind, Lampard will know Abraham, who came off the bench to replace Giroud, might be running out of steam with only one goal in 2020 and has just two in his last 10 games.
Retain defensive system
Marcos Alonso enjoyed Chelsea’s switch to a five-man defense against Tottenham. The tactics gave Chelsea a more solid look at the back and freed James and Alonso to join the attack, allowing them to overload their opponents in wide areas, a scheme perfectly illustrated when the ball was worked from right to left for Alonso to fire home from 20 yards.
Now the Chelsea boss must be tempted to deploy the same system against Bayern in other to subdue the German champions.
Let Barkley run wild?
Ngolo Kante’s injury saw Ross come back into the starting line up and the midfielder was influential against Tottenham.
Like Giroud and Alonso, Ross Barkley had endured a frustrating campaign that suddenly offers hope of a rewarding finale after his influential display against Tottenham.
Using the 26-year-old on the left side of Chelsea’s attack on Saturday relieved Barkley from any defensive responsibility, giving him the freedom to roam about and run wild. He did just that with the assist for Alonso’s goal by moving into a central position that took him away from the sight of any potential markers.
Giving Barkley another chance to be Lampard’s decision but it might just be a risk worth taking.