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Chelsea dreams driven by revenge

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Phil McNulty | 09:04 UK time, Thursday, 5 April 2012

Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold. And Chelsea were already preparing one that has been lying at the bottom of the freezer for three years in anticipation of the latest Champions League semi-final meeting with Barcelona.

After the Blues' nervy 2-1 win (3-1 on aggregate) over Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, Frank Lampard spoke of "unfinished business" with Pep Guardiola's Catalan artists, while caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo revealed some of his players still felt "hard done by" after their last brush with the Spaniards.

As Di Matteo talked of devising a strategy to cope with Lionel Messi and the magical midfield carousel of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, it was also clear that settling old scores will weigh heavily as a factor.

Those of us present at Stamford Bridge on that balmy - make that barmy - May night in 2009 will understand why the fires of injustice still rage within those players who so nearly toppled a Barcelona side that went on to outclass Manchester United in the final in Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

Chelsea players argue with referee Tom Ovrebo

Chelsea felt hard done by at the hands of referee Tom Ovrebo in 2009. Photo: AFP

After a brilliantly disciplined goalless first leg at the Nou Camp, Michael Essien's goal took Chelsea to the edge of another all-Premier League meeting with United until Iniesta intervened spectacularly with seconds left.

It was insult added to the injury of a series of penalty claims, several before and one after Iniesta's goal, all rejected by Norwegian referee Tom Ovrebo.

The hurt has not left Stamford Bridge and it was already starting to spill out after Lampard's penalty and a spectacular Raul Meireles goal - separated by Javi Garcia's late header that sparked a short outbreak of panic at Stamford Bridge - secured the west London side's victory over Benfica.

Chelsea, however, will need to be armed with something more potent than a grievance if they are to somehow find a way past a Barcelona side that look vastly superior to the one in Di Matteo's charge.

Barcelona have improved and won the Champions League twice since the 2009 meeting while Chelsea have gone backwards, but the scale of what Di Matteo and his players have achieved must also be acknowledged and to dismiss their chances out of hand would be disrespectful.

Di Matteo, cold-eyed and businesslike in the extreme after this win, has lost once in nine games since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas.

For Chelsea even to be contemplating this semi-final might have been beyond their sphere of expectation a few weeks ago.

And for all their struggles to get the job done on Wednesday, they will be the envy of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal - not to mention Spurs and Liverpool - when they fight Barcelona for a place in the final.

Chelsea have also reached their sixth Champions League semi-final in nine years, an achievement to admire even if that success has not been transformed into winning the tournament or more than one final appearance.

There is little doubt, though, that they will have to produce performances far beyond anything they have hinted at this season if they are to play either Real Madrid or Bayern in Munich in May.

It is hard to imagine Barcelona coach Guardiola losing sleep over much of what he would have witnessed at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea had to wait until Meireles's spectacular strike in the dying seconds to subdue a Benfica side reduced to 10 men when captain Maxi Pereira was sent off for a second yellow card five minutes before the interval.

Di Matteo made the perfectly understandable assertion that Chelsea must play to their own strengths against Barcelona while being aware of the brilliance they will face themselves - and Benfica were able to flag up a few warning signs.

The Premier League side conceded possession and territory in a manner that suggested they were having a dry run for a confrontation with Barcelona. Benfica were unable to apply the finishing touches to the promptings of the enduring Pablo Aimar, wasting a succession of chances that came their way.

If Aimar, fine player though he is, could have so much influence against the likes of Jon Obi Mikel and Lampard, then what damage will Barcelona be able to do?

It is hard to imagine Barcelona, with Messi at their heart, being as over-generous, although some regular Nou Camp observers claim - to raised eyebrows outside Spain - that they also have a weakness in failing to punish opponents.

Chelsea must perform with iron discipline, tighten up defensively on what was offered up against Benfica and, when the opportunities come, take them.

Di Matteo must decide whether the brawn of Didier Drogba can be used in the hope of reawakening the beast to bother Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique or whether the speedier thrusts of Fernando Torres would be Chelsea's best bet.

Drogba was one of those most publicly wounded by Chelsea's exit against Barcelona in 2009, marching on to the turf at the final whistle after being substituted, clad incongruously in flip flops, to confront the officials before making his feelings clear via a television camera.

If Di Matteo can use any tool to drag one more great performance from the striker who has so often been Chelsea's Champions League talisman then their chances will be greatly improved.

They must also wrestle with a fixture schedule that sees an FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley and a meeting with Barcelona in swift succession while a fight for a place in the Premier League's top four goes on.

And Chelsea may also believe that they are due a change of fortune in a tournament that has thwarted Roman Abramovich's mighty chequebook at every turn, whether it via a "ghost goal" at Liverpool, a penalty missed in Moscow or officialdom against Barcelona.

They will certainly need luck on their side against the Catalans because all logic - and all footballing evidence this season - suggests their Champions League journey will come to a halt at the semi-final stage.

All the cards will need to fall in their favour and they must produce a pair of their finest performances in recent memory to reach another final. The desire for revenge alone will not suffice.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Chelsea 3, Barca 0, only 2 minutes to go. The crowd chant the delights of revenge. Pundits shocked, players even more so.

    An alarm bell rings in the background..............I wake up and im still in the asylum!!!!

    Dream on Chelsea fans!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 3.

    The semi-finals have to be played, but if Chelsea were to progress over a two-legged affair against one of the best club teams ever assembled in Barcelona, you'd begin to question the validity of the result.

    If Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba dive enough times they could get a fair number of penalties and free-kicks lined-up. Other than Chelsea fans, would anyone into the Champions League format really want them in the final instead of Barcelona?

  • Comment number 4.

    What was so spectacular about Meireles goal?

    Benfica with a man down were all forward in those last few minutes of the game, Meireles counter attacked and found goal keeper out of position and fired a shot into goal. All praise to Benfica, they go out with respect and admiration much like APOEL who gave a fight. Chelsea were poor and they stand no chance against Barcelona.

    However, if Chelsea win against Barcelona then I think Terry's, Lampard's and Cole should be Knighted.

  • Comment number 5.

    For Chelsea to have a chance they need to play counter attack football. Have too holding midfielders, Mikel and Essien, Mikel who is excellent with interceptions. Essien one of the best tackling midfielders in the business. David Luiz must not play, too many silly mistakes at the back blossom from him. Overall I think if Chelsea are at their absolute best and Barca have a shocker it will be a draw at the bridge, Barca will then up their game and Chelsea will get murdered at the nou camp.

  • Comment number 6.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Chelsea still obsessed with the "penalties" they thought they deserved, of which only one was even a credible appeal, they showed that night the lack of discipline and class which is why they went out. Only the most one eyed fan or lazy journalist would think that these "injustices" were responsible for the defeat.

  • Comment number 10.

    at #3

    I think several people would want Chelsea ahead of Barca in the finals. I for one am sick of seeing the same team in the finals over and over again. Especially seeing that Real Madrid are going to make the finals,I would not want an El Clasico final that will end up being a bitter, violent affair.
    Contrary to what the blog says(and what most people think), I think Barca are weaker since the last time these 2 sides last met. Milan showed that, often penetrating through the midfield but lacking the final ball/finish to kill the game.
    Having said that, Chelsea will still have to play twice as good as they have at any point this season in order to even hope of competing. David Luiz is a must start.

  • Comment number 11.

    9.At 10:40 5th Apr 2012, andy wrote:

    Chelsea still obsessed with the "penalties" they thought they deserved, of which only one was even a credible appeal, they showed that night the lack of discipline and class which is why they went out. Only the most one eyed fan or lazy journalist would think that these "injustices" were responsible for the defeat.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good to see that I'm not alone in seeing through this revisionist myth about that second-leg at Stamford Bridge.

    The worst decision of the night was Abidal's second yellow card, after Anelka tripped himself up. Don't even get me started on the favourable decisions which Chelsea received in the first leg! :rollseyes:

    If Drogba, Anelka, Malouda and others hadn't have been diving all night, then perhaps the referee might have looked more favourably on any genuine fouls they may have suffered. It's the parable of ''the boy that cried wolf''.

  • Comment number 12.

    If Chelsea can stop Busquets and Puyol, then for me they win the tie. A lot of people talk about Messi and his goals but he is nothing more than a poacher. A modern day Clive Allen. If they can stop Busquets and Puyol from supplying the crosses then I really do think that Chelsea will be heading to Wembley to play probably Bayern in the final.

  • Comment number 13.

    PHIL

    As Jose said, it won't be Chelsea in the Final, we all know why.

    Just look at Tuesday night-the moment Milan went ahead via that away goal, blow me, Barca get a penalty that any team with an ounce of decency would have deliberately missed, because it was such a ridiculous award.

    Whether Chelsea are good enough anyway doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Patch

    Don't you bore yourself to tears? I know your keyboard is your best friend but your opinions have already been noted several times before. Try watching paint dry. It will no doubt be a thrilling experience for you.

  • Comment number 16.

    14. At 10:51 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    It's a shame that so many Barça HATERS are crawling out of the woodwork - motivated by jealousy and envy.

    _______________________

    They're motivated BY YOU!

    I don't care if Barca win every game they ever play if it meant your internet connection was blocked!

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes, we're the weakest team left out of the four. No, i don't think we'll go through. But, we've managed to get to another semi whilst having the worst season i can remember for a while. We can take hope from Englands humiliation of Spain a few months ago. England were given no chance of getting anything that day, and for a team of pub players to humiliate Spain that day gives us all hope. We're in a semi, and we have a right to dream, even if it turns into a nightmare. It's the type of game everyone wants their team to be involved in. If you don't admit that, you're deluded. Pub players 1 World chumpions 0, that's a humiliation.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    #14

    Don't lecture us when your precious La Liga contains an ENTIRE team of donkeys!

    How competitive is anything with Sporting Hee-Haw in it, eh? Can't even dive properly, I'll bet.

  • Comment number 20.

    at #17.

    Well said. It actually feels good as a Chelsea supporter to be written off at every stage this champions league season.

  • Comment number 21.

    I wondered how long it would take for this blog.

    A fairly balanced article would also talk about all the decisions that have gone against Barca over the last few years, but obviously why mention that, why have a balanced article?

    Everyone seems to forget Chelsea got decision in the famous 0-0 in the nou camp.

    They also forget decision went against Barca when they played Inter in the san siro and had a good goal disallowed in the nou camp, which would have put them through.

    Oh and against Milan they should have had a penalty in the san siro no mention of that.

    and no mention of how many real madrid players should have been sent off in recent classicos.

    As for Mourinho, he's deluded.

    I think Munich will definitely be in the final, but chelsea have a chance, especially with their power, they will pose a massive threat from set pieces, but need to keep the ball.

  • Comment number 22.

    12. At 10:50 5th Apr 2012, Bobby Knows Best wrote:
    If Chelsea can stop Busquets and Puyol, then for me they win the tie. A lot of people talk about Messi and his goals but he is nothing more than a poacher. A modern day Clive Allen. If they can stop Busquets and Puyol from supplying the crosses then I really do think that Chelsea will be heading to Wembley to play probably Bayern in the final.


    This has to be some kind of a wind-up. When has puyol ever crossed a ball in his life??
    Yes I can see Di Matteo in the dressing room now saying " nah forget about Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Pedro, Iniesta... what you want to do is keep the ball away from Puyol"....... mumpty

  • Comment number 23.

    patch

    Why would people HATE Barca? Such a statement is bizarre. People love to watch Barca in full flow. People, however, do HATE your incessant ramblings on every blog and you petty arguing and obsession with being obnoxious and arrogant.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    18. At 10:57 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    How was it not a penalty?!

    -------

    The ball was not in play when the foul was being committed. The referee should have blown his whistle before the corner was taken, warned the players involved (including Puyol as he was trying to block the Milan player), and made them retake the corner.

  • Comment number 26.

    12.At 10:50 5th Apr 2012, Bobby Knows Best wrote:
    If Chelsea can stop Busquets and Puyol, then for me they win the tie. A lot of people talk about Messi and his goals but he is nothing more than a poacher. A modern day Clive Allen. If they can stop Busquets and Puyol from supplying the crosses then I really do think that Chelsea will be heading to Wembley to play probably Bayern in the final.

    Bobby - Have you been drinking?

    Messi is just a poacher!! seriously.

    As for Wembley, if Chelsea turn up there, they'll definitely lose, the finals being played in Munich.

  • Comment number 27.

    18. At 10:57 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    In addition to post 25:

    http://forzaitalianfootball.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/AC-Milan-Barcelona-Nesta-penalty.jpg

  • Comment number 28.

    Hrmm I think Jose's comments were merely mind games, if anything, I would suggest that Real are more guaranteed to beat Bayern the Barce to beat Chelsea. I've seen nearly every Barce game this season and while the chances for Chelsea are slim, I would argue that they are one of the best equipped teams to unsettle this Barce side. The likes of Drogba, Essien and Ramires will play a big part if this is to occur, as their big physical presence is the one way to counter Barce.

    When Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are all on the field, I would argue that it is virtually impossible to outplay the Catalans as Mourihno has learn't time after time. The key will be for Chelsea to come away from the first leg with a clean sheet at home, even if that means a 0-0 draw. They can then look to nick a vital away goal and proceed to park the bus once again. The only way they will achieve any success in this tie is through running 20 marathon's between them, but it can happen. As for David Luiz, I feel he has settled down a little more now and is actually more suited to playing against Barce much like koscielny for Arsenal in previous years. JT on the other hand can expect to be severely penetrated

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm a United fan but I want to see Chelsea reach the final this year after what happened in 2009. Under AVB I wouldn't have thought it possible but Chelsea seem to be in with a genuine chance just now. Hope they get their revenge over Barca, for once I'll be rooting for them.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Chelsea's diving team is no match for the Catalans.

    Benfica will feel hard done by and with reason, the ref was not even trying to be subtle. I hope from here onwards Chelsea supporters will never again speak about Man Utd. getting decisions.

    Ok being realistic now, It's all about the Real vs Barcelona final, so we should have a blog on that asap.

  • Comment number 32.

    Nice article Phil. Everyone seems to be writing chelsea off immediately, which may play into their favour. Guardiola may well not be having sleepless nights, but if he takes the game lightly then he could be in for a surprise! Chelsea are an experienced european outfit and still have the midfield to match. Wouldn't be surprised to see romeu or essien man marking xavi. A few tackles leaving his foot in (as per usual) could quieten messi as well.

  • Comment number 33.

    Its an English club in Europe, so I expect conspiracy theories to be trotted out as excuses without foundation ad nauseum.

    Revenge for a team that spent the previous game diving and mobbing a referee?

  • Comment number 34.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 35.

    24.At 11:04 5th Apr 2012, seamus wrote:
    ______________

    You're a football philistine if you don't jump on the barca bandwagon!! Yep they are only men, and they can lose just like anyone else. Chelsea shouldn't try to contain them, they should attack them. For all their excellent ball retention, they are dodgy at the back, even more so at set pieces. the likes of ivanovic and terry can get a goal from set pieces, Drogba would easily boss puyol and pique if he's "up for it".

  • Comment number 36.

    Us Chelsea fans have gotten used to being hated by pretty much everyone. I simply don't care. Facts are that we won against a talented team last night and are through to another CL semi against our old adversaries - a great result. I hope it's a good game v Barca - they play a great passing game, always on the move. We usually come good when the chips are stacked against us though, plus there are a few players who will be smarting and want revenge as Phil makes out. Am not smarting personally from "past injustices" - you get that in games sometimes. We have had decisions go for us this season too. I just hope we put some effort in and have reason to celebrate. This is the kind of game where Frank & Didier come alive. Kalou cannot start, his distribution last night was as appalling as it always has been. Luiz should definitely start however. Am sure his pace and terrier-like hassling will put off the Barca front line, despite his occasional comedy muck-up. We will need Meireles, Essien or Mikel on top of their game, should have a floating defensive MF role to stick on Messi, Iniesta and Xavi like a hawk. Ashley will have his work cut out vs Alves too.
    @ 4 - I thought Meireles' finish was spectacular. Have you been watching a montage of Crouch-like wonder goals on youtube and wouldn't know a decent strike if it slapped you in the face?!

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm a Man United supporter and am surprised but pleased to see Chelsea in the semi-final and hope you go all the way. If it can't be United winning it I will support an English team (except maybe Liverpool :) ). Oh, by the way, Arsenal, if Chelsea win it and you're 4th in the league you don't qualify for the Champions League, so just to be sure make certain you win this Sunday against the mercenaries. Please.

  • Comment number 38.

    As expected, rubbish comments from the anti-Chelsea brigade.

    I wouldn't write off Chelsea before a ball has been kicked. Anything can happen in football - Crystal Palace's win at Old Trafford this season being one example of a surprise result.

    Whatever happens there would be no disgrace in losing to what most people consider the best team in the world. At least Chelsea have reached the last 4, something that was beyond the rest of the English teams....one of which couldn't even finish second ahead of Basle(and went out of the Cup to Crystal Palace). LOL

  • Comment number 39.

    26.At 11:06 5th Apr 2012, sirlemons11 wrote:
    _______________

    Have to agree with Bobby. If you watch messi closely, he's a better version of hernandez. Floats about the shoulder of the defender, waiting for the right through ball.

  • Comment number 40.

    #32 and #35

    Well said!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    21.At 11:01 5th Apr 2012, sirlemons11 wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The problem with the Barcelona HATERS, is that they are exhibiting an extreme example of confirmation bias.

    Because they are jealous and envious of Barcelona's brilliance, they try and make themselves feel better by making up some crackpot tin-foil hat conspiracy theory about Barcelona getting favourable decisions.

    Just off the top of my head, these are some of the bad decisions which have gone against Barcelona in important Champions League matches:

    2009

    Referee bottles giving Ballack a second yellow card after he cynically blocks off Iniesta on the edge of the box at the Camp Nou.

    Abidal gets a preposterous second yellow at Stamford Bridge.

    2010

    Milito offside when scoring one of Inter's goals in their 3-1 first-leg win.

    Dani Alves denied an absolutely obvious penalty when Sneijder scythes him down late on in that game.

    Bojan has late tie-winning goal rules out after an absurd handball call from the ref in the build up.

    2011

    Messi has onside goal ruled out, which would have put Barcelona into a tie-killing 2-0 lead at the Emirates.

    Sergio Ramos and Pepe escape yellows and reds for persistent fouling over the two semi-final legs.

    Manchester United's goal in the final is offside.

  • Comment number 42.

    i actually give chelsea a chance to win the game, remeber the game 2009, and yes barca have improved alot, and chelsea have declined, but out of all the teams chelsea gave them a hard game, after all barca are a one man team, take messi out with a hard a tackle, or man mark him, ramires could do the job.

    i never liked barca or real, firstly how they spend and how they act with players who are good " you belong with us" "this is ur home" all that nonsense talk.

    as for real madrid a team who spent 250 million and more from 2009 and still has not won a trophy are underachievers.

    And the poor fella mascherano who was in one of the best midfield at liverpool now plays as a defender, and he is aregentina's captain.

  • Comment number 43.

    @ 39 usually agree with most you say eduard, but comparing messi to hernandez is akin to comparing an E-type to a Citroen :). I fear Hernandez fooled us all, I hope I am wrong though.

  • Comment number 44.

    The refereeing in 2009 was the worst I have seen. However, Chelsea still had enough chances to finish Barcelona off from open play that night.

    Here and now, Barcelona are favourites. Will Chelsea win? Probably not. Can they win? Of course.

    And hopefully we'll have fun trying.

    The question is, would you prefer to be in the Champions League semi finals or out of the competition?

    Carefree......

  • Comment number 45.

    Not Chelsea fan but still looking forward to the game, wish them the best of luck.

  • Comment number 46.

    I agree barca aren't clinical enough considering the amount possession they have but still often take enough to win games and still the most entertaining team watch in the world. Chelsea have been average even since Di Matteo took over. I'd be surprised can even get a draw let win either leg. I think Madrid will win the champions league because got a better squad than barca .

  • Comment number 47.

    Im planning on not leaving many comments on this subject, i can see this blog turning into another slating fest. If i were a Chealsea fan i'd be so proud, not many weeks ago chelsea were struggling bad, now they are in the semi's of the CL, WELL DONE! i was cheering you guys on last night, suprised myself to be honest, but i feel you deserve it. weatehr you can get past barca is not important, the importnat think atm is that the club have eached the semi's. who could have predicted that 2 months ago. i truely hope you can turn barca over, even if it means i have to eat my words about no english team getting the better of them. i really dont want to see a real barca final, it would be a disgrace.

    MrBlues is prob so hung over atm that he cant remeber half the match, but i hope you enjoyed it, you guys have had a hard season.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 46 monty, entertaining? Barca? If a zillion 3-yard passes is your thing. Personally I prefer Real Madrid's style under Mo. The goal tally doesn't lie and I like goals ;)

  • Comment number 49.

    Post 22. dee_real_mccoy

    Puyol has 99 caps for Spain and is Barcelona's captain. How on earth can you say that he is not the man to stop?!? Barca are the Champions of Europe & Spain are the World Champions.

    Most of Messi's goals come through the play of Puyol and Busquets on the flanks, watch most of his goals and they come from either crosses or as eduard_streltsov_ghost states in post 39, from playing on the shoulder of the last defender and waiting from the right ball to be played through, most of which are supplied by Puyol.

    I think it's you that's the "mumpty" sir.

  • Comment number 50.

    25.At 11:05 5th Apr 2012, chris_87 wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Try again!

    The ball was not in play when Nesta first ''did a Vidić'', but Nesta's still grabbing Sergio's shirt after Xavi takes the corner.

    Why else would Busquets have gone down if he wasn't being fouled?

  • Comment number 51.

    Unless you're a proper Barcelona fan, why would anyone actually want Chelsea to lose? If it wasn't 'my' team there then the best emotion I could probably summon would be one of 'couldn't care less'.

    By the way Phil, 'clad incongruously in flip flops', is a great line! :-D

  • Comment number 52.

    ''did a Vidić''
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    That's ''Vidic'', but the script doesn't appear to allow for the accented Serbo-Croat ''c''.

  • Comment number 53.

    43.At 11:21 5th Apr 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    @ 39 usually agree with most you say eduard, but comparing messi to hernandez is akin to comparing an E-type to a Citroen :). I fear Hernandez fooled us all, I hope I am wrong though.
    _______________________

    Don't get me wrong, messi is a class act and shows moments of brilliance. But I have been watching him closely in the CL and he doesn't "do" much more than what hernandez does at utd. Granted the qualities hernandez lacks, messi has an abundance of (dribbling, link up play), but his role in the team is no different.

    he is allowed to do this because of the midfield that dominate the possesion so well and it is helped by their patient approach. I am willing to bet if chicarito signed up for barca he would be prolific there, not as prolific due to his defincies (dribbling & link up) but he would bag the goals, maybe about 30-40 as opposed to 50-60.

    That's the reason messi is nowhere near as effective for argentina, their system is not primed and set up to complement him.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 49 bobby, still to see Puyol cross or consistently contribute in a meaningful manner to Barcelona's attacking play. You must be mistaking him for someone else.

  • Comment number 55.

    My honest opinion is that if all these people commenting below were true English fans and true to their country surely they would want the only English team 'Chelsea' to beat Barcelona and progress to the Champions League Final? We're sorry that this year the beloved Manchester United or Liverpool aren't in Europe this year, not even Europa it was a shocker for United to even be seen in that tournament!
    All I'm saying is support your English team if your English and give the blues a chance! Don't just slag them off because your team hasn't got as far as them!

  • Comment number 56.

    41.At 11:20 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    you wont even admit who you support so your comments are void. all of them.
    you hide behind barca's success like you were part of it, wise up, everyone likes barca's play but like any SPORT people like to see the best toppled.... get over it.

  • Comment number 57.

    As a Spurs fan, I would like to congratulate Chelsea on getting to the semi-finals. It certainly wasn't a vintage performance by them last night but enough to get them through.

    Like most people, I believe they will struggle against Barca, however Barca are not unbeatable!! They are still 6 points adrift of Real Madrid in La Liga!!

    I must admit I would love to see how a Real Madrid - Chelsea final would look with Mourinho being involved...would make very interesting viewing!!

  • Comment number 58.

    44.At 11:23 5th Apr 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Can they win? Of course.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Spoken like a true, irrational football fan. :shakeshead:

    There's no chance in a million years of Chelsea's decrepit mercenaries getting past Barcelona in two legs. It's physically impossible.

    My expert pick:

    Chelsea 0 FC Barcelona 2

    FC Barcelona 5 Cheslea 1

    (FC Barcelona win 7-1 on aggregate)

  • Comment number 59.

    @6, best not watch Pat Nevin on channel 5 tonight then. You can pretty much guarantee a 'just now' from him.

    I think Chelsea were lucky last night that Benfica lost their discipline. Stupid penalty for Garcia to give away and Maxi making a tackle like that being already on a yellow. I think if Chelsea have Lampard and Mikel in midfield against Barca then they will be far too pedestrian and Barca's midfield 3 will just run rings around them. That said as a spectacle I hope Chelsea can give them a game.

  • Comment number 60.

    #47 King Red

    MrBlues is prob so hung over atm that he cant remeber half the match, but i hope you enjoyed it, you guys have had a hard season.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Didn't enjoy drinking until the final whistle had gone!

    Anyway, it feels as though Chelsea are, and have been all season, on something of a knife edge. It could all go brilliantly well or, for maybe no reason other than bad luck, it could all go pear shaped and we would have to suffer the endless column inches about how it went wrong from people who, ultimately, have probably never been in the situation that the club and players have been in this season.

    One game at a time is what I tell people. Enjoy last nights result, dream about the potential of what is to come, but make sure we deal with Wigan on Saturday first.

  • Comment number 61.

    53.At 11:29 5th Apr 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    I am willing to bet if chicarito signed up for barca he would be prolific there, not as prolific due to his defincies (dribbling & link up) but he would bag the goals, maybe about 30-40 as opposed to 50-60.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    :D

  • Comment number 62.

    Chubby Pandas has alot to say for a guy who I'm guessing supports a team with an empty trophy cabinet for 7 years, and by the way, who are all this home grown talent, I can think of two?

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 58 forgot to specify, "FC Barcelona win 7-1 on aggregate, Chelsea end both games with 9 men"

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    58.At 11:31 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    There's no chance in a million years of Chelsea's decrepit mercenaries getting past Barcelona in two legs. It's physically impossible.

    My expert pick


    What qualifies you to be an expert Patch??

    Expert Troll, yes!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    LOL I abandoned this site when they made all the changes but now i've returned its good to see you enthusiasm for trolling has not wavered Soul Patch, I can't believe people are still falling for it though.

    Chelsea 1 - Barce 1
    Barce 2 - chelsea 0


    Bayern 2-3 Real Madrid
    Real Madrid 3-1 Bayern

  • Comment number 68.

    64.At 11:34 5th Apr 2012, Russeljones wrote:

    @ 58 forgot to specify, "FC Barcelona win 7-1 on aggregate, Chelsea end both games with 9 men"
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I wouldn't be surprised if that was to occur, considering the terrible lack of discipline and unprofessionality of Cheatsea and their players.

    Terry red carded for elbowing, Drogba two yellows for diving, Cole gets a red card for a nasty leg-breaker and Lampard receives a straight red for being an over-the-hill plodder.

  • Comment number 69.

    Barcelona is not Benfica or Napoli.

    I also don't understand the reference that Chelsea are looking for revenge for 2009 because quite frankly, the last time Chelsea met Barcelona, Barcelona have climbed the levels of football that no other team has achieved for at least a few decades.

    Even Barcelona haters can agree that Barcelona boosts the best midfield in world football, do people honestly think "Mikel, Mata, Lampard, Mereiles, Essein" can match up to the passing carousel of "Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Thiago, Fabregus? and mind you, this is where the game is won.

    Barcelona might look a shadow of last season, but make no mistake, Barcelona ALWAYS brings their A game when it matters.

    Think about this for second: Barcelona plays away from home at the San Siro and attacks AC Milan, but instead of Barcelona being praised for taking the game to Milan, the media and everyone else is obsessed with how Milan defended well in stopping the mighty Barcelona. Surely with the pedigree of Milan and playing at home, how was defending for theirs lives seen a as victory? Because, BARCA ARE THAT GOOD.

    You can talk about the aerial power and physic of Drogba but he has to have the ball to impose himself, which in all likely hood he's going to see sparingly.

    So NO, Chelsea stand no change against the MIGHTY BARCA.

  • Comment number 70.

    Summing up on the above I would suggest Chelsea man to man Puyol. I would think Torres would be up for the game with him previously playing for Barcelona's fiercest rivals in his early years.

  • Comment number 71.

    58.At 11:31 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    44.At 11:23 5th Apr 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Can they win? Of course.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Spoken like a true, irrational football fan. :shakeshead:

    There's no chance in a million years of Chelsea's decrepit mercenaries getting past Barcelona in two legs. It's physically impossible.

    My expert pick:

    Chelsea 0 FC Barcelona 2

    FC Barcelona 5 Cheslea 1

    (FC Barcelona win 7-1 on aggregate)
    =============================================================
    last time they played chelsea were robbed, they were the better team and the ref was the only reason barca got through!!! as usual barca get all the soft decisions

  • Comment number 72.

    34.At 11:15 5th Apr 2012, ChubbyPandas wrote:
    'Youre'... Crossfade. You're wasting my time. Patch has done nothing wrong. Trolls arent real. Unless in your world... fairy land... they may.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Trolls aren't real? Lmao you think there like ghosts or aliens or something?
    Trolls are most deffinatly real, Ive trolled topics on forums before, most people have.

    And Id have to say, someone who posts everyday on blogs about ENGLISH football but claims to hate the prem and only ever talks about La Ligas brilliance compared to englands 'pub' teams is a troll. If he wasn't hed be talking about it on a La Liga concerned forum.

  • Comment number 73.

    At 11:27 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Why else would Busquets have gone down if he wasn't being fouled?

    __________________________________________________________________

    Ha Ha , this is brilliant. And he knows it.

    However he is right when he says that many decisions have gone against Barcelona over the years, as he points out with those examples. And in 2009, from memory I don't think Chelasea had one credible penalty claim!

  • Comment number 74.

    Congratulations to Chelsea for getting this far but I think it's as far as they'll go this season. Watching the game last night, they were being outplayed by the 10 men of, no disrespect Benfica fans, in European terms an average side without a decent striker. When Chelsea were robbed by Barca last time, the likes of Essien, Lampard, Terry and Drogba were on top of their game. Those four are a shadow of their former selves this time, and unfortunately for them I can't see anything but Barcelona progressing.

  • Comment number 75.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 76.

    #53

    Exactly!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    50. At 11:27 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    25.At 11:05 5th Apr 2012, chris_87 wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Try again!

    The ball was not in play when Nesta first ''did a Vidić'', but Nesta's still grabbing Sergio's shirt after Xavi takes the corner.

    Why else would Busquets have gone down if he wasn't being fouled?

    ------------------------

    You said it yourself, the ball wasn't in play when the foul first occurred. Therefore, the referee should have prevented the corner being taken and warned the players involved.

    If you're going to be so dismissive of what I've said, you'd be better off not proving my point with the very next sentence ;)

    As for "Why else would Busquets have gone down if he wasn't being fouled?" - I even know Barcelona fans who are embarrassed by Busquets' all too frequent play-acting antics...

  • Comment number 78.

    Post 70. Omnipotent

    2 very good points, for me it's a game that Mikel has to start as he could basically do the job of trying to stay on Puyol and trying to stop him dictating the play. Ashley Cole will also have to be on his mettle as Puyol is much better than Mikel so will inevitably get away from him a lot over the course of the two legs, and then it will be down to how Cole copes in the one v ones.

    Like you say, Torres will be bang up for it, especially with the prospect of facing his boyhood team in the final!!

    It's all there for it to be a wonderful match up and I can't wait to see who makes it to Wembley for the final in June.

  • Comment number 79.

    #69 Tsivoman

    I think your sensationalist, tabloid-esque tone has got you a bit confused there.

    You identify that things have changed between 2009 and now. Then you go on to say that you think Milan's pedigree and playing at home are actually tangibles that would help get them a result.

    So, is the match played in the here and now on the pitch, or is it played in people's minds?

  • Comment number 80.

    @58 and @68

    Put your money where your mouth is GBP1000.00 for a Chelsea win and you can have odds of 3/1

    I know you will not accept the bet as you did not last time.

    Stand up and be a man and take the bet

  • Comment number 81.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 82.

    I would feel a lot better if Chelsea played their home tie second.I think it is deliberate that the Catalans stick their visitors up in the Gods.Chelsea always take a good away support but they can hardly be heard where they are.Barcelona's game is all about pass and move have they ever had a poor game at the Camp Nous I feel confident at the Bridge I do tend to believe Mourinho about decisions favouring Barcelona at their home.If Chelsea can upset their rythm upset their passing they have a chance AC Milan were well in there at one stage and should of had a penalty.Put them off their stride rattle their cages get a foot to anything to stop Messi especially picking up the ball.Personally when Inter beat them and Mourinho parked the bus the game lost it's sparkle however if Chelsea decide on this principle and get to the final it won't worry me one i ota

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 85.

    77.At 11:42 5th Apr 2012, chris_87 wrote:

    You said it yourself, the ball wasn't in play when the foul first occurred. Therefore, the referee should have prevented the corner being taken and warned the players involved.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The foul was continuous. If you're shirt pulling before and after the ball is in play, then the foul is correctly awarded for the pulling which occurs afterwards.

    I'm not being ''dismissive'' of your point (the out of play angle is certainly an improvement of the original straw-clutching arguments, about that penalty, from the HATERS), it's just that he's clearly still fouling him after the ball is in play, which is when the referee whistled.

    The referee had already warned Nesta about shirt-pulling, so he only has himnself to blame.

  • Comment number 86.

    People also seem to be overlooking that these two teams actually played each other in the CL Semi-finals back in 2009 and had it not been for some very questionable refereeing decisions, it would have been Chelsea and not Barcelona who would have made it to the final, to play against Manchester United. The big question therefore is... "How will this years game go?".

  • Comment number 87.

    Wouldn't it be funny if the referee wises up to barca's antics and fails to award them penalties at nou camp and stamford bridge. Chelsea get a late winner from Torres and barca are acrimonously dumped out, crowd the referee and complain that because they have the ball 70% of the time they should go through because they are the better team. Pep leaves.

    But I'm sure there'll be a string of "debateable" decisions and barca will go through. :sigh:

    The only positive is the mouth watering bayern v real semi.

  • Comment number 88.

    Of course, Chelsea are a weaker team than the other three semi-finalists. But the essence of knock-out competitions is that the best team doesn't always win. That's why they're such fun.

    Barca are very, very good. But Real are 1st and Barca 2nd in La Liga. Last weekend, Real beat Osasuna (6th) 5-1 away, whilst Barca beat Athletic Bilbao (11th) 2-0 at home. In hyping Barca and talking up referee bias at Nou Camp, Mourinho is playing mind games because he's rather face Chelsea in the final. And it might just work!

  • Comment number 89.

    i cannot believe bobby knows best---you obviously know your footballers as youve quite rightly highlighted puyol and basquets as the main sources of lucky lionels goals and realise what a player mikel is but just think for a microchosm(thats 8 seconds on a standard zanussi microwave) and imagine,nay dream,thrice nay drool like ebadoun waiting for the stalls to open and visualise if mikel played for barca....what a gifted nostradamus like golden triangle that would be....mikel puyol and basquets

    a better 3 could not be imagined

    youm drooling aintcha

  • Comment number 90.

    @86

    Easter holidays little bobby?

  • Comment number 91.

    The frequency of comments on this blog just shows the depths of our economic depression, or the laxness of companies restrictions on computer use.
    As a Blues fan, I say that:
    Yes we've not been playing our best this season, main reason being AVB not gelling with senior players and outbursts of power struggles in the dressing room.
    Yes we have improved since RDM took over, not anything significant but subtle changes to team rotation and allowing the influential players a bit more free roam.
    Out results have mostly been the 'Man United' style, not playing to our best but grinding out the results, often with late winning strikes.
    When MAn Utd do that, they get praised for their resilience. When we do it (against Benfica and Aston Villa) we get called average?? Wake up and smell the turf.
    In a game where results and standings matter, we are the last remaining english team in the CL..and in the semis. FACT. You don't have to be the best team, you just have to win the most matches. FACT.

  • Comment number 92.

    anyway to the main topic congrats to chelsea. poor performance but got the result

    will be eliminated in the semis, theyre not strong enough for barca

  • Comment number 93.

    well, well....what a mouthwatering Dinner coming up at Stamford Bridge in two weeks!

    just a reminder; seventh placed Primera League team totally crushed the dominant Premier league team home and away....could have been worse too!

    now the fifth placed Premier league team is about to face the Champions of the planet Earth.....

    perhaps chelsea fans should think about that first before dreaming too much......

  • Comment number 94.

    88.At 11:53 5th Apr 2012, dickonbear wrote:

    Last weekend, Real beat Osasuna (6th) 5-1 away, whilst Barca beat Athletic Bilbao (11th) 2-0 at home
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That doesn't mean anything. If Barcelona are to win the league then they'll have to beat Real in the upcoming match. Therefore, their head-to-head would be superior to Real's, and goal difference is irrelevant.

    There's no point busting a gut, attempting to score 3 or 4 when you don't need to.

  • Comment number 95.

    In terms of the game, obviously Barcelona are favourites but not unbeatable. I'm not going to pretend I know exactly how to beat Barca because far greater footballing minds than mine have tried and failed on numerous occasions. However, if Chelsea are still on level terms at home with about 25 minutes to go then Barcelona have shown that they do tire due to the immense distance every player runs, not just getting forward but also pressing faster than any other team in world football. Arsenal have shown that the last 20 minutes is the time to nick a goal or two from them. If Chelsea get a positive result at home then they're right in with a shout in the second leg.

    Fair play to them, they've really gone some way to silencing their critics, although it means nothing if they crash out and have no CL next year. The key PL run-in will be made much harder by the two Barcelona games and FA Cup semi against an energetic Spurs team.

    It shows that the PL isn't as in decline as people think when two clubs that have been "in crisis" at various stages this year in Chelsea and Arsenal have seen off teams that everybody will tell you are exciting and dangerous superior foreign sides like Udinese, Napoli, Dortmund and Benfica.

  • Comment number 96.

    50.At 11:27 5th Apr 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    25.At 11:05 5th Apr 2012, chris_87 wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why else would Busquets have gone down if he wasn't being fouled?


    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hahaha is that a rhetorical question?

    Busquets is the biggest play actor ive ever seen, he makes Drogba and Nani look like honest players who don't go down

  • Comment number 97.

    Chelsea should not be written off, English clubs have beaten Barca these past few years even if the method has usually been to play a less than open game and sometimes there is also fate to contend with. Liverpool 2005 should never have won the trophy (outplayed for 113 minutes) whilst if you trawl back to United 1999, and watch how they progressed through the rounds and eventually won it, there were times when only good fortune kept them in it.Juventus were winning 1-0 at OT in the semi until the very end and it should have been 2 or 3-0 by half time in that game to Italians,and thats before the fluke of the final is considered. The point is though that both Liverpool and United DID win the trophy.

    The question is though do we really want Chelsea to progress ? After the antics of this season surely it would be karma if these players were outclassed by Barca and finished out of the CL places,the result, those players who are now performing are ironically thrown to the wall as the rebuilding process put off by Villas-Boas exit has to be resurrected.What irony

  • Comment number 98.

    spakkatime, post 89. Mikel would excel at Barca given his versatility, mobility and awareness. He could play in the hole behind Messi to try to reduce the creative burden from Puyol and he could also do a marking job in some of the bigger games such as against Madrid, where I presume he'd be asked to shackle someone like Ramos (Sergio not Juande before any pedantics start!!). Given the unrest at Chelsea, I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see Philip "Pep" Guardiola make a move for him.

  • Comment number 99.

    92.At 11:56 5th Apr 2012, Titus Bramble wrote:
    will be eliminated in the semis, theyre not strong enough for barca
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    we as football fans are losing the passion that brought us to the sport, if chelsea havent a chance then why bother to even play the match, of course they have a chance!! i just hope the guys on this site that have already concluded that barca are in the final arent sportsmen themselves. barca may be heavy favourites, but isnt this what we want to see!

  • Comment number 100.

    a real v barca final is going to be horrible watching!

 

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