In their last three Champions League games, Chelsea have conceded six goals, whereas in the competition's group stages, that equation was reversed, with only three goals against in six games. This team was apparently built around a defense that was parsimonious to the extreme, and now it's gone a bit leaky. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because Chelsea are drumming in goal after goal right now. And it doesn't matter because whatever kind of team they come against, their manager can find a way to beat them. Against Barcelona we had lightening-quick counter-attacks with the ball fizzing across the ground from foot to foot, whilst against Bayern we saw the long pass to Drogba, knock-downs, lay-offs and onrushing midfielders. José knows.
The key, of course, is execution. It doesn't matter how elaborate or original your tactical vision is if your players aren't equipped to turn it into reality. Mourinho's players trust him implicitly and are prepared to follow his instructions to the letter (or paper note brought on by a sub).
Look at Eidur Gudjohnsen . Is he a target man holding up the ball and leading the attack? Could be. Can he play off Drogba, dropping into the hole or out onto the flank? Yep, he can do that. And can he play in midfield alongside Lampard and Makelele, breaking down play and starting the counter? Sure he can, that's exactly what he did in the first leg against Bayern. We are always hearing from players how they just want to play in the one preferred position, where they can be left to build form and confidence. And if they can't play in that position then they're not going to play at all, are they Kieron ? But here is a man who will go exactly where his manager tells him to, because he is absolutely confident that if he carries out those instructions, he is most surely going to end the season with lots of shiny medals. Mourinho has got every single one of his players thinking the same way. All those egos contained for the sake of the team. No easy feat.
Chelsea may well need to try a new tactical variation at the Olympic Stadium tonight . Argentine midfielder Martin Demichelis returns to the Bayern side and should ensure that they are less susceptible to the kind of aerial assault that they had to endure at Stamford Bridge. First choice strikers Claudio Pizarro and Roy Makaay are also back in the team, adding to the feeling that this tie is far from a foregone conclusion. Chelsea certainly won't have it all their own way tonight, but we just can't see Bayern stopping them from scoring. So it looks as if the Blues are going to roll on to the semi-finals where they will most probably meet Juventus.
The match is live on ITV1 this evening and kick-off is at 7.45pm.