Chelsea's 2020-21 UEFA Champions League campaign has been an enjoyable one for Blues fans across the world. After a massive spending spree in the summer -- in which the Premier League giants added several world-class players to their squad -- they were expected to compete on all fronts.
While they blew hot and cold in the Premier League, the UEFA Champions League proved to be a welcome distraction. Chelsea topped their group and set up a mouthwatering clash against Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16, as Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard on the touchline for the knockout stages.
His new-look Chelsea side brushed aside the La Liga giants 3-0 on aggregate, as they defied the odds to win home and away against Los Rojiblancos. Portuguese giants FC Porto stood between the Blues and semi-finals, as they looked to cause an upset in the quarterfinals. However, Tuchel’s side were once again the better team over 180 minutes and made it through to the semis after a 2-1 aggregate victory.
After two convincing victories, Chelsea will now take on Real Madrid in the semis, as they aim to make it through to the final for the first time since the 2011-12 season. On that note, here are five of Chelsea’s finest moments in the UEFA Champions League this season.
#5 Hakim Ziyech’s goal vs Atletico Madrid
After winning the first leg 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano 1-0, Chelsea took on Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge in the second leg. They started the game on the front foot and broke the deadlock in the first half, as Hakim Ziyech scored the goal that seemingly put the Blues in pole position to make it through to the semis.
His right-footed effort from close range found its way into the back out of the net despite Jan Oblak’s best efforts, as Timo Werner played his part in the role with an accurate pass into the box after a clever run.
#4 Olivier Giroud’s stunning four-goal haul vs Sevilla
Olivier Giroud has scored several important goals for Chelsea over the years, but the Frenchman produced his best performance in a Blue shirt in a group stage encounter against Sevilla. Chelsea had already secured qualify before their matchday-five encounter against the La Liga side, but they ran riot at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with a magnificent showing away from home.
Chelsea won 4-0 on the night, without Giroud bagging all four goals in what was a historic night in Spain. The Frenchman became the oldest player in UEFA Champions League history to score a hattrick, as he did so just two months after his 34th birthday.
#3 Emerson’s last-minute goal vs Atletico Madrid
With 90 minutes played on the clock, Chelsea led 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate against Atletico Madrid, as the Blues pretty much sealed qualification after a sensational showing over two legs. However, they weren’t done yet, as Emerson came off the bench to put the icing on the cake for the Blues.
Chelsea started a quick counter-attack in the dying moments of the game and the Brazilian full-back’s left-footed drive found its way into the bottom corner of the net, as Chelsea added insult to injury late in the game.
#2 Olivier Giroud’s overhead kick against Atletico Madrid
Olivier Giroud scored four goals against Sevilla in the group stages, but his finest moment of the season arrived against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie. With the scores tied 0-0, the Frenchman scored one of the goals of the season, as his overhead kick found its way into the back of the net past the despairing dive of Jan Oblak.
After a lengthy VAR check, Chelsea were eventually awarded the goal and won the game 1-0, as Giroud proved to be the Blues’ matchwinner in Europe yet again with a moment of magic.
#1 Mason Mount’s turn and finish against FC Porto
Mason Mount has been Chelsea’s Player of the Season so far and the exciting midfielder’s crowning moment arrived in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. In the first leg against FC Porto, Chelsea were crying out for inspiration, as they were unable to break the deadlock in the opening exchanges of the game.
However, Mount stepped up to the plate after the 30th-minute mark and scored an excellent goal to break the deadlock. Upon receiving the ball at the edge of the box, his clever turn took the Porto defense out of the game, as he drove a right-footed shot into the far corner to give his side the lead.
Chelsea won the game 2-0 thanks to Ben Chilwell’s late goal, but Mount’s moment of magic in the first half set the tone for the rest of the game.
Ahead of the big game, Bollywood superstar Arjun Kapoor was joined by ex-Bengaluru FC coach Pradhyum Reddy for the latest episode of Talking Tactics. Both men remained upbeat ahead of the big European encounter and spoke in detail about how Chelsea have been setting up under Tuchel.
While all the focus is on Eden Hazard, as he prepares to face his former club, Mason Mount was singled out for special praise for the way he has adapted to life under the German tactician. Described by Arjun Kapoor as a magical player who has really come into his own this season, Pradhyum Reddy heaped more praise on the Englishman, as he went on to speak about his work rate and movement off the ball.
Both men predicted Real Madrid to give Chelsea a tough game in the semi-final but remained optimistic going into the first leg in Spain. The Blues have performed admirably in recent weeks, but it remains to be seen if they get one over the record European champions and make it through to the final.