Frank Lampard‘s strategy of relying on hard work rather than creativity almost paid off for Chelsea, but with only one player who has scored more than two goals this season, it was no surprise that they failed to find the net against Real Madrid. Lampard packed his starting XI with players who could run and fight, but none of them had the finishing touch that he himself was famous for. The lack of goalscoring opportunities for Chelsea was evident, with N’Golo Kante and Marc Cucurella coming closest to breaking the deadlock. In contrast, Real Madrid’s substitutes, including the likes of Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix, made an impact when they came on, showing the importance of having a well-rounded squad. Lampard’s experiment highlighted the need for Chelsea to bring in some new attacking talent if they want to compete at the highest level.
Chelsea’s game against Real Madrid saw one player stand out above the rest – Reece James. Despite struggling in the opening leg, his performance in the second leg showed just why he is so highly regarded. James may not have dazzled in the months since his return from injury, but at Stamford Bridge, he was instrumental in everything Chelsea were trying to achieve. He directed play, demanded the ball, and effortlessly eased past Real Madrid players. His delivery of crosses was also top-notch. Even after spending millions upon millions on players, it’s clear that Chelsea’s best player remains their homegrown right-back. If James continues to perform at this level, he’s sure to fast-track his way to the top of the waiting list for Operation Reece James.
James is undoubtedly one of Chelsea’s most valuable assets, but it seems that Real Madrid has their sights set on the talented midfielder. Despite having a lengthy contract with Chelsea, reports suggest that Real Madrid is still viewing James as a potential acquisition this summer. With Chelsea possibly needing to sell ‘free’ players, it’s no surprise that Real Madrid is eyeing up James. Playing mid-table football might not be enough for James, who is deserving of more. It’s not hard to see why Real Madrid is interested in the midfielder, especially when he creates the most chances and dribbles past more opposition players than anyone else on the pitch. With a glistening Real Madrid side on the horizon, it’s easy to imagine that James might just be tempted away from Stamford Bridge.
Although it was not a perfect performance for Chelsea, the blame cannot solely be placed on individual players. James may have lacked in tracking-back for the first Real goal, but it was evident that the weight of the game was too much for the entire Chelsea side. Towards the end of the game, James found himself in central midfield, indicating a lack of direction and organization within the team. The only thing preventing Chelsea from being rudderless is Lampard’s leadership. However, even with his guidance, the squad is simply too big and needs to sell this summer. Unfortunately, the list of players who could be sold for substantial fees is surprisingly short, with James being one of the few who exceeds a £50m price tag. It’s no wonder the reigning or potential European club would want him.