Reasons To Believe Barcelona Can Beat Chelsea And Qualify For The Champions League Final >> Read My Mind
FC Barcelona's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge can only be interpreted as 'The night when Drogba, Cech and his 9 mates survived the Blaugrana dominance by playing long balls'.
Chelsea chose to play ultra-defensively, openly admitting FC Barcelona's footballing superiority before the game kicked-off. Their plan to concentrate all their defensive efforts into stopping Messi, then hoof the ball up to Drogba worked pretty well though, as they ultimately achieved the result they wanted.
Captain Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano have countless skills but, unfortunately for us, they suffer when facing tall strikers such as Drogba, Ibrahimovic or Llorente. In that respect, it's clear FC Barcelona missed Gerard Piqué dearly - Despite not having his best season so far, the Catalan Giant would have given Drogba a much harder time in the air.
That being said, Barça controlled the match from beginning to end, with a massive 74% possession, 23 shots, 8 corners. Unfortunately, we also hit the post twice and missed two clear chances.
Still, no big deal.
Why I'm Still Feeling Positive
Most football fans out there would be devastated after losing a match their team dominated so clearly.
In fact, yesterday's match has confirmed what I knew all along: Barça are the better team and we look forward to the chance of talking on the pitch next Tuesday. Lionel Messi is known for always stepping up when FC Barcelona need him the most, always eager to take centre-stage when it comes to big matches.
Considering we should also have a fit Xavi Hernandez and the genius Andres Iniesta at our disposal, I am convinced the Chelsea defence will face a much tougher challenge next week. Since Pep Guardiola took over back in July 2008, The Blaugranas have won 27 out of 29 ties over two legs, an impressive 93%. If there is a coach who can find a way to unlock a tight defence, that's The Catalan Master.
As long as Pique plays and we don't lose any players to injury, Pep Guardiola would be right to stick to the same game plan at our home pitch. The Camp Nou fans won't necessarily receive Chelsea with open arms.
Culés are eagerly awaiting the most important game of the season: Knocking Chelsea out of Europe so shortly after the El Clasico defeat would be fantastic..
Barcelona fans have many reasons to believe in our team.
The Tie Is Far From Over
While all types of football are to be respected, I simply would not accept my own team playing like Chelsea did last night. For us Catalans, football is a game where attack beats defence while crafty combinations and incisive dribbling combine to achieve glory.
It looks like Chelsea fans are incredibly pleased with their 1-0 win. All I can say is: Enjoy it while you can, you may not have your happy ending next Tuesday. As long as FC Barcelona can combine quicker upfront, free up space and convert our chances, we will be in this year's Champions League final.
I stand by my word before the semi-finals started: It's Chelsea, not Barça, who should be worried.
FC Barcelona: Only one step away from achieving European glory once again!!!
Have Your Say
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Am I being too critical of Chelsea's performance or perhaps too optimistic about FC Barcelona's chances?
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Força Barça!! Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com
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