For only the second time in Chelsea’s history the Blues won the Champions League, beating Manchester City 1-0 in Porto . They saw off Pep Guardiola’s side with ease, thanks to multiple incredible performances from within the team. Kai Havertz ended up with the winning goal after rounding the keeper late in the first half to seal victory.
That said, the hero of the night was N’Golo Kanté, who once again put in a man of the match performance. In actual fact, every player out on that pitch deserves everything they get for their performances. The scenes at full time were jubilant – the players were ecstatic, the fans equally so and for good reason. Chelsea are Champions of Europe.
Champions League final MOTM, N’Golo Kanté, is unbelievable,
We have all known that the little Frenchman is world class for some time, but his performance was something else. He was immovable in the midfield and time and time again he shut down City breaks effortlessly. On multiple occasions he was there to put a foot in which is testament to his well-known work rate. He proved undeniably that while 70% of the earth is covered by water, the rest is undeniably covered by Kanté.
One of his best moments came when De Bruyne was racing forwards, dangerously close to playing in a teammate.. That was until the 30 year old slid in to steal the ball, with his tackle timed to absolute perfection. It was interceptions, tackles and blocks like that one which put Chelsea on their way to the trophy and seeing him shyly lift the trophy was a joy for everyone to witness. His efforts earned him yet another Man of the Match award, adding to his Champions League collection this season, further exemplifying the fact Kanté is a special, special player.
Thomas Tuchel outwitted Pep Guardiola again
Having conquered his managerial counterpart twice before, it seemed as though Guardiola would surely have a better plan this time. As it turned out however, some possible overthinking from Pep led to another Tuchel triumph against him. His midfield gamble, combined with Chelsea’s tried and tested formation, meant gaps were hard to find in the Blues’ defence and space was easy to get when going forwards.
While Pep is clearly a world class manager, having guided his side to the Premier League title, it appears Tuchel has a strong psychological grip over him, no matter the competition. Speaking of the German, he looked fired up on the touch line throughout, ensuring Chelsea fans boosted their team over the line in Porto. When he fell to his knees following a missed chance, his motion matched that of every Chelsea fan around the world and it truly felt as though he was one of us during the game. Whether it was a fault on Pep’s part or a tactical masterclass from Tuchel though, is largely irrelevant as there’s one thing that is certain – Chelsea have won the Champions League.
Cobham is unmatched
In the celebrations post match, one picture stood out in particular, with seven academy graduates huddled around the famous trophy. They were players who’d been with the club from the youth system, right to the top of European football and it proves without doubt that the talent from Cobham is unparalleled. While it may have taken some time for their ability to be fully recognised, it is clear now that homegrown players will no longer be shoved to the side at Chelsea – if anything it will be the opposite.
The most notable of the seven is undoubtedly Mason Mount, Chelsea’s player of the season. He has been at the club since he was six years old and is clearly Chelsea through and through. Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi are three others who have risen up the ranks together. You can only imagine the feeling to see your childhood friends lift the biggest trophy in world football with you. On top of them, there is the so called ‘Danish Maldini’, Andreas Christensen, as well as the young Scot Billy Gilmour who has been spectacular in recent weeks. Finally, Tino Anjorin was in Porto, deserved after his superb displays for the academy side this season, and inevitably someone who will appear more and more often in the squad.
The simple fact is, however, Chelsea’s youth system was a key part of why they won the Champions League. Without such players as Mount, the goal could never have been created. Without James, there would’ve been nobody to pocket Raheem Sterling all night. Furthermore, while some of the others may have played a smaller part, they have all contributed to a European triumph. And the best part is, they were all Made in Cobham.
Kai Havertz Is Worth Every Penny
Many doubted last September whether the German playmaker was worth the club record fee that Chelsea paid for him. That question could’ve been tough to justify for the club recently, but now there are no longer any doubts. Worries about price tags disintegrated as he rounded Ederson to win the Champions League for Chelsea.
He himself appeared to sum it up best in an interview when asked about his own transfer fee. ‘I don’t give a f*** on that, we won the f***ing Champions League!’ It was that uncontainable jubilation that really summed up how every player felt following the full time whistle. Kai Havertz has had his doubters throughout this campaign, but he well and truly silenced them in Fernando Torres-esque style, something that nobody can ever take away from the 21 year old.
It was fitting that Roman Abramovich himself was there watching on as the man who made the transfer fee possible. A reminder of how we got to the incredible position we are in is always a welcome experience. For a first time meeting with the owner, there isn’t much of a better occasion for Havertz to introduce himself than scoring the winning goal in a Champions League final.
Chelsea Have Won The Champions League
After this season, there could be no better way to cap it off than winning the continent’s premier cup competition. Nine years after the first triumph, the second came in perhaps both the most contrasting but also most similar fashion. There have been multiple comparisons drawn to 2012, but this victory ought to be distanced from Munich.
These players have done something special in their own right, something totally different from any Chelsea team ever before them. While the 2012 victory featured already club legends looking for one last hurrah in Europe, 2021 was the polar opposite. It featured young prospects with little pedigree who, while clearly talented, were doubted due to their lack of experience.
The group stage saw some stellar performances from the likes of Abraham and Hudson-Odoi, though the best showing was ironically from an older member in Olivier Giroud, scoring four against Sevilla. Knockout stages were Mason Mount’s time to shine, along with the likes of Kanté and Silva defensively. A special mention must also go to Edouard Mendy who has had a phenomenal debut season for the club, being in net for 9 clean sheets in the Champions League this season.
Overall, there is a simple way of summarising what we have learnt from both this game and also this season. It’s been hard at times, it’s been joyous at others but in the end the conclusion is fundamentally clear:
CHELSEA ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!
Written by Noah Robson (@noahr24_)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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