Why this Chelsea - Barcelona semifinal brings back the Andres Iniesta spirit >> Culé Talk

I am sure that every Barcelona supporter remembers the last time we played Chelsea in a Champions League Semi Final. On that occasion,  Andres Iniesta's late wonder goal  rescued the tie enabling us to qualify for the 2009 UCL Final, which we went on to win.

My mood changed from total despair to complete euphoria with one kick of the ball. However, that 1-1 away goals triumph (after 0-0 at Camp Nou) was just the latest and most famous of a series of clashes between Barcelona and Chelsea.

The first time Barcelona and Chelsea met was in the Quarter Final of 2000 UCL. In that tie, a 5-1 win in extra time at home by Barcelona enabled us to overcome a 1-3 defecit from the first leg. This was an all too rare ray of sunshine in what Tom refers to as "The Dark Ages".

In the first knockout round of 2005 UCL, it was Chelsea which overcome a first leg loss. After Barcelona had won 2-1 at Camp Nou, a whirlwind start and a late John Terry goal resulted in a 4-2 Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge which sent them through. On a brighter note, we went on to win La Liga later that season breaking a six year torphy drought. That was the start of the current golden era.

In the first knockout round of 2006 UCL, Barcelona reversed the result of a year earlier. A 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge followed by a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou secured our progression. A few months later we defeated Arsenal in the Final. Later in 2006, Barcelona and Chelsea met in ther Group stages. Chelsea won 1-0 at home and the Camp Nou clash ended 2-2. Both teams went through to the knockout stages but neither team made the final. For all Chelsea's success over the recent past, a Champions League title still eludes them.

However, that is the past. This is the present.

What can we expect this time? There is no doubt that Chelsea are a more difficult opponent than they would have been a few months ago. Roberto de Matteo has reverted to the old guard since replacing Andre Vilas-Boas (AVP) as manager of Chelsea. Di Matteo has been able to focus solely on winning now as opposed to AVP's mission to build a new team. This has resulted in players like  Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole regaining their motivation.

Chelsea are now challenging for fourth place in the EPL and have reached the FA Cup Final. Chelsea's direct, physical style will definitely be a problem for Barcelona. That being said, I am sure that we are a better team than when we last clashed and Chelsea have probably gone backwards. If we play to our ability, I have no doubt that we will prevail and reach another UCL Final.

I certainly hope that is the case and we can conquer European football once again by winning the Champions League final in Munich.

What did you learn from this article?

What are your thoughts ahead of the clash against Chelsea?

How can FC Barcelona ensure qualification to the Munich final?

I welcome and appreciate all feedback.

Posted by: Drago , Columnist at 'Culé Talk'