FC Barcelona has it all to do next week when they take on Chelsea at home in the second leg of the Champions League semi final.
Without a doubt Frank Lampard’s words will be ringing in the ears of some who chose to doubt him when he said that Chelsea were “up for the fight” against Barca. Not one Barca fan thought they’d see their team lose to the West Londoners last night at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s goal came from a Didier Drogba strike and left Barcelona with their mouths open wide, especially as Barca had most of the ball possession. Nobody gave Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea squad a hope in hell against the best team in Europe. Many Spanish papers especially the Catalan ones are calling Chelsea’s style of play “anti football“. Most Chelsea fans would say it’s “sour grapes” on Barca’s part.
They said it would be a tough two weeks for Barca and they were not wrong either! On Saturday Barca receive Real Madrid at the Nou Camp and will try to clinch another 3 points to cut Real’s lead to just one point. Then they will be getting ready for the second leg of the Champions league final against a Chelsea side that has belief in themselves. Barca should win at home but don’t forget they are one nil down against a very pugnacious Chelsea with some good team spirit added into the mix.
It wasn’t a bad match either and a lot of it was end to end stuff – not like the Spanish press are making it out to be. Ok, Barca had most of the ball, but they usually always do, including against the best teams in Europe! I don’t believe it was “anti football” as the Spanish daily 20minutos tried to make it out. Chelsea had a plan and stuck to it by the letter. Messi was taken out of the equation except for a few flashes of brillance and seemed to be looking for fouls just outside the penalty area. I counted three and none of them were converted by Barcelona. Drogba had a few run-ins with Puyol but that was to be expected and Carles was up to the job.
After the match Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo had this to say:
“Public opinion has been that a lot of these boys are over the line and too old to play two games in a row at this level. It wasn’t just Drogba.
“There were other players on that pitch who you regard as the ‘old guard’. But tonight they gave their answer to everyone.
“I decided to play Didier when I looked back on the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs and I thought that he was the right man for this game.
The physical condition of both teams was on par and neither team were able to run the other ragged.
1 – Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Mikel, Meireles; Mata (Kalou, m.74), Lampard, Ramires (Bosingwa, m.88); Drogba.
0 – Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi (Cuenca, m.87), Iniesta, Cesc (Thiago, m.78); Alexis (Pedro, m.66), Messi.
Goal: 1-0, m.45+2: Didier Drogba.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany), showed yellow cards to Ramires and Drogba (Chelsea), and to Pedro and Busquets (Barcelona).
Match Attendance at Stamford Bridge 38.039