Can Chelsea Beat Barcelona?
Blues have their work cut out for them in Champions League semifinal
Chelsea are underdogs in their pending clash with Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Barcelona is widely regarded as the current best club team in the world. Chelsea is widely regarded as currently over-the-hill and inconsistent. But Chelsea does have a psychological advantage heading into this first semifinal leg after their huge 5–1 defeat of Tottenham in Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal. It was an exciting win with an old-school-Chelsea vibe about it. Drogba and Lampard scored jaw-dropping goals that elicited gleeful cackles from this fan. Chelsea didn’t look too over-the-hill on Sunday. It was a much-needed confidence booster, perfectly timed to prime the Blues before their biggest match of the season.
Chelsea will have to play with absolute defensive resolve and unity to withstand the slippery Barcelona attack. Obviously they’ll need to be wary of that Messi guy – no shots allowed for him! The Blues must seriously reduce their giveaways in the middle of the field. They must also counterattack with greater speed and efficiency than they’ve shown for much of the season. Scoring opportunities will materialize for Chelsea at home, but they must convert with precision. They need at least two goals in this first leg and allow absolutely none from Barcelona.
Barcelona has several short guys so Chelsea needs to physically dominate the game. They’ll have to be careful not to get too crazy with the physicality; after all, the refs are likely to protect the Barcelona hobbits – I mean superstars. The Blues will want to be careful not to get on the ref’s bad side early on. Yellow cards could cause serious problems in the second leg, so the team must be tactful with their challenges.
Since David Luiz might not be available Wednesday due to injury, Cole, Terry, Cahill, and Ivanovic should probably start in the back. Di Matteo has several options at midfield, but regardless of the lineup, Lampard must be in the mix. Forwards need to be Mata, Drogba, and Sturridge. Drogba can wreak enough havoc in the box that it could open up some space on the right for Sturridge to attack.
A good monkey wrench to throw at Barcelona would be to start Torres at right midfield. His best contributions this year have been passes and crosses into the box anyway, so why not make him designated server? Something a little unconventional might throw Barcelona off just enough for Chelsea to get a couple goals in hand for the return leg.
What do you think Chelsea must do to beat Barcelona?
Posted on April 17, 2012, in Champions League and tagged Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Champions League Semifinal, Chelsea v. Barcelona, Chelsea v. Tottenham, Daniel Sturridge, David Luiz, Didier Drogba, FA Cup Semifinal, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Juan Mata, Lionel Messi, Roberto Di Matteo. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.