Everyone associated with Chelsea Football Club will be glued to their television screens this evening, eagerly awaiting to find out who the Blues will face in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The Blues, who face Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday, progressed to the last-four of European club football’s top competition for the first time since 2014 on Tuesday evening, despite losing out 1-0 at the hands of Portuguese outfit FC Porto.
Fortunately for the Blues and head coach Thomas Tuchel, they had won the first-leg last Wednesday evening 2-0, meaning they progressed to the semi-finals 2-1 on aggregate.
With Chelsea’s job done, they will now be looking forward to discovering who stands between themselves and a place in the final, with Liverpool and Real Madrid going head-to-head in the second-leg of their quarter-final this evening.
The Spanish heavyweights will arrive at Anfield 3-1 ahead following last week’s first-leg, meaning they are in a strong position to book a semi-final tussle with Tuchel’s Blues. However, Liverpool would only require a 2-0 victory to progress to the last-four on the away goals rule, meaning it is all to play for, especially when taking into account that the Reds are renowned for their ability to come back from the dead in Europe.
But whoever the Blues do end up facing in the final four, they are going to fancy their chances of progressing to their third Champions League final in their history, having already seen off a Porto side that knocked Juventus out of the competition in the last-16 and with Chelsea having got the better of seasoned Champions League contenders Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.
Although the Blues, with respect, have not necessarily blown anybody away on route to this stage of the competition, they have gone about their work in a disciplined and cool manner, getting the job done when it has needed to be.
In a sense, you could argue that Chelsea’s route to the semi-finals has gone under the radar, but not necessarily in a bad way.
And it appears that is the thoughts of former Blues ace Didier Drogba, who has taken to social media to react following the Blues’ progression to the semi-finals.
In a short Twitter post, quote tweeting Chelsea’s tweet confirming that they had reached the last-four, the former Blues favourite said: “Slowly but surely @ChelseaFC,” followed by three blue love heart emojis.
Drogba, of course, knows what it is exactly like to lead the Blues to European glory, scoring the winning penalty in the penalty shoot-out that won them the Champions League back in 2012.
The striker also scored the equaliser that night to force the game to extra time after Thomas Muller had handed Bayern Munich the lead at the Allianz Arena.
Since that memorable night almost nine years ago, Chelsea, up until Tuesday evening, had only reached the semi-finals once. On that occasion they were beaten by Atletico Madrid.
With the Blues now so close to the final, boss Tuchel has admitted just how big an achievement it is for the club.
“It is a very big achievement,” Tuchel said. “You see when Chelsea was last in the semi final. We are not used to being there. Once you are there, you play for the final. This is clear.
“We take every minute to learn and grow. You cannot improve without these experiences so we are doing it now during the process, while we are playing it. Yes, it is nice being on the sideline because you see all the effort.
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“These games against Porto may not be the best to watch on TV but believe me it is a tough, tough side to play against.
“It is very physical, they hassle for every ball, they never let you turn or think for two seconds for other solutions. They put pressure on you, they are emotional so it is a lot to deal with and we went through.
“I am super happy, we will enjoy this evening.”