I know by the end of this article I shall have lost a few fans of ‘good’ football but let’s on the other hand face it, familiarity breeds contempt. So how many times over the past few years have you watched Barcelona at the finals/semi-finals of the Champions League, how many times have you watched ‘good’ football win? You would agree with me, so many. So then what’s ‘bad’ football? I tend to think bad football is when you are kicking people around, getting cards and not playing by the rules. But what’s then ‘bad’ football in Barcelona’s eyes? Mmmmh, defending too much, catching them on the counter, making few passes and eventually beating them,, yes,, that’s what they refer to as bad football. Leads me to the question, if you can’t beat them on passes, can’t beat them on possession, at the same time can’t join them, simple… use the so called ‘bad/negative football’ and beat them.
Good case scenario, last week’s match at Stamford Bridge, well summed up in Busquets own words ‘unjust’. Last week we were talking of two matches that could pretty sum up Barcelona’s season. The classic and Chelsea’s second leg tie at the Camp Nou. As a Barcelona player, you would pretty expect two wins out of these and hopefully go home with the two titles of the day, but as things stand now, one seems to be already gone and with Chelsea plotting their own mission, even the final would be a dead dream by the end of today.
Then, what might/should Chelsea’s mission be?
Looks like Mission impossible in most people’s views. Barcelona are a pretty decent side at home and maybe only people like Mourinho have been able to pull the rare feat of beating them there. But what does Mourinho and the others who have won at Camp Nou have in common? One word – Bravery.
Reminds me of Alves’ sentiments on the 2009 Champions league semi’s when Barca knocked out Chelsea to advance to the finals. Di Matteo seems to have pretty learnt this by now, he showed it in the first leg, his players too showed it and now just for the second time in less than seven days; they have to show how brave they are.
Never easy playing as an intimidated unit. Arsenal pretty sure knows this too well having played there twice at the Camp Nou and lost.
The way Barcelona is structured means they play in very quick succession, make very short and fast passes and with the speed the team boasts of, quickly move forward creating confusion and building fear in their opponents. This way, Barca are able to capitalise on set pieces, Messi runs, through passes and several corner kicks resulting into big margin wins, several fouls awarded to them and finally their ever gracious performances they so believe in.
For Chelsea, watching them last week was a beauty. The fact that they never let Barcelona instil fear in them was Key, forget the Drogba goal. Positional discipline and confidence go hand in hand when facing a good side like Barca. Keeping Messi quiet is not an easy task but it can be done. Deploying a player to mark him individually is not the easiest of tasks either and would probably be a bad idea but letting every player mark his zone is so much possible again.
The special one might have left Chelsea several years ago but using his blue print against Barcelona should not be assumed by Chelsea. The moment Di Matteo will picture himself so special and try to use different tactics (or further build on them) from those the ‘Special One’ used at the weekend, right there and then, he’ll fall flat and the end result, another Barcelona win.
The hardest workers and bravest defenders will for sure carry the day. Terry and Co must keep their heads straight and even though fresh conspiracy claims over the referee emerge, they must never give the referee any reason to book them but must remain physical and crisp perfect on their tackles.
Beating Barcelona on the counter seems to be a good option going forward but just like in any repeat war, the opponent for sure knows your moves and works on them. Dani Alves might not want to run so far ahead forgetting his defensive duties and might be contented with moving the ball just to midfield and setting back to his position. Chelsea thus should make meals off set pieces and the very rare corner kicks they might get.
Breaking Bra’s rhythm is the only way you can make them make mistakes. The moment the ball bounces off any Barca leg; Chelsea must try to win it and just as I said earlier should be in crisp perfect precision. This way, Barca will make mistakes, fouls and even corner kicks if not throw ins. Having in mind Barcelona is not so blessed with height; Chelsea should make the best of these set situations.
Pique might be introduced today but that just makes the positioning at the back far much more confused. Pique hasn’t played in some matches in recent time and having to come back from the bench, his confidence levels might have dropped. Harassing and shoving him around should bring out one or two mistakes and even though Puyol has been a pillar in the defence for a long time now, time and age seems to be catching up.
Honesty and dishonesty
Not a very new topic when talking of a Barcelona home clash. Diving and play acting should not be part of this game at all. The match referee having officiated several tensed matches especially back in Turkey (Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce) should pretty see this off especially trying to sway away from controversy.
courtesy RedCafe.net ,,,,
Claims of Drogba diving and blatant dishonesty plagued the first tie but Barcelona having done this over the years should not be quick in pointing fingers. Real life situation- Honesty is the best policy should guide this tie.
So are you waiting? I’m waiting. I need an upset; I want football, honesty and above all an entertaining match. Whoever wins, let it be fair, whoever looses let cool heads prevail.
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