We all know the enormity of the task facing England’s last remaining Champions League representative Chelsea over the next week but for the sake of the tie and the history of the Champions League people must believe Barcelona are beatable!
Football is world renowned for being the most unpredicitable sport on the planet, but in recent years – since the arrival of this sublime Barcelona team – have we all seen a predictability surface around football?
Many fans, pundits, media personnel and I’m sure UEFA would love to see a Real Madrid vs Barcelona Champions League final, but with Bayern taking a 2-1 lead to the Bernabeu and IF Chelsea could pull off the “impossible” and beat Barcelona are we really saying Bayern vs Chelsea would be less of a match?
Since the formation of undoubtedly one of world footballs greatest ever teams Barcelona have entered every season with an air of invincibility – much like Manchester United used to have over the Premier League – both domestically and in Europe. Much like the Roger Federer of old, Barcelona’s opponents are often beaten before the first whistle.
Well tonight and next Tuesday, Chelsea MUST believe for their sake that they could be the Nadal to Barca’s Federer. There are 3 reasons why Chelsea could just pull off the impossible this season.
Unlike Barcelona, Chelsea have constantly flirted with winning the Champions League – most notably in the final of 2008 – but have so far failed to capture footballs golden prize. The club, Abramovich and the players have shown in recent performances – FA Cup semi-final aside – that they are determined to win this tie, often willing to relinquish Premier League points to conserve energy and not risk injury for these fixtures.
For many of the Chelsea players e.g. Drogba, Kalou, maybe Essien, this could well be their final hooray for the club which they have performed so admirably. With players such as Terry and Lampard Chelsea fans are guaranteed determination from their team. Barcelona have been criticised on some occasions this season of having ‘lost their appetite to win’, a trait that Chelsea will certainly not be feeling tonight.
Change of Luck
There have been many incidents involving Chelsea and Barcelona in the Champions League and Chelsea have seemed to always be on the wrong side of the ‘luck’ (dodgy decisions).
Referees have normally been at the centre of the storm during these ties, Anders Frisk was forced to retire after receiving death threats following his decision to send Didier Drogba off during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp in 2005. Fast forward to 2009 and who can forget Tom Ovrebo refusing Chelsea’s FIVE penalty claims when Iniesta scored to draw 1-1 and send Barca through on away goals.
After decisions like these against Barcelona and throw into the mix the famous ‘ghost goal’ at Anfield and John Terry’s famous penalty slip in Moscow and people must believe eventually Chelsea’s luck in this competition will change.
AC Milan almost got their tactics spot on in the last round against Barca when after drawing 0-0 at home (although they missed some good chances) they had numerous chances to take the lead in the Nou Camp and pile the pressure on Barca but failed to do so.
Should Chelsea get their tactics right tonight and take a 0-0 or a lead to the Nou Camp they are more than capable of frustrating Barca (much like Mourinho’s Inter did) and snatching a score draw at the Nou Camp.
The first leg tonight will be crucial, more so than the 2nd leg which is rarely the case, IF Chelsea can take a lead to the Nou Camp they may just pull it off, however, IF they were to lose tonight the 2nd leg is just a formality as to win in the Nou Camp really would be mission impossible.
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