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Cech gives Chelsea final hope

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Phil McNulty | 21:42 UK time, Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Guus Hiddink has given Chelsea's mission to erase the memories of last season's Champions League final heartbreak fresh drive and direction - but they fell back on the old reliables of durability and defensive discipline to blunt Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

This was not the place, or indeed the opposition, for the fluid attacking game that dismantled Liverpool at Anfield in the quarter-final first leg or the defensive frailty that saw Chelsea concede four in the return game on home soil.

Hiddink's natural attacking instincts were reined in to deliver a game plan designed to contain Barcelona's glorious approach play and the deadly finishing of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o.

It produced the required result - although a goalless draw is encouraging as opposed to decisive as a platform for when the sides meet again at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.

Chelsea have proved they can hold Barcelona. Now they must prove they can beat them.

Barcelona enjoyed huge supremacy in territory and possession, but Chelsea's resilience plus outstanding performances from goalkeeper Petr Cech and captain John Terry, in front of England coach Fabio Capello, left an expectant Catalan gallery frustrated at the final whistle.

Terry set the tone for his team-mates, mixing vital interceptions with uncompromising defence to keep Barcelona at arm's length, and when they did pierce Chelsea's rearguard Cech was in no mood to be beaten.

Cech has faced justified criticism recently, especially after performances that combined uncertainty and eccentricity in equal measure against Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League and Liverpool in that wildly fluctuating Champions League clash.

But in Barcelona, some early trouble with crosses aside, this was the imperious shot-stopping Cech of old, providing a formidable barrier on the occasions when the intricate passing of Pep Guardiola's side navigated a route through Chelsea's massed ranks of defensive defiance.

Cech saved well from Henry in the first half, then after the break denied Dani Alves,
Eto'o and crucially Alexander Hleb in injury time. Chelsea were also accompanied by good fortune as well, with substitute Bojan Krkic somehow heading over with the goal at his mercy.


Chelsea's organisation and bravery meant they deserved the draw that has built a foundation for them to advance to a second successive final, and they could even have got an away goal themselves, with Barca keeper Victor Valdes making a superb double save from Didier Drogba in the first half and Michael Ballack heading over later on.

Hiddink is too wise and too experienced to send Chelsea out at the Nou Camp with orders to open up. He knew that would have been an open invitation to players of the calibre of Messi to kill his and Chelsea's Champions League ambitions stone dead.

Instead Chelsea set up for a war of attrition, although they did not help their cause with too many aimless long balls in the first half that only succeeding in presenting possession back to Barcelona.

But with each player following Hiddink's tactical orders to the letter, and with Jose Bosingwa clearly told to get even tighter to Messi as the game progressed, it is slight advantage to Chelsea ahead of the second leg.

Barcelona, however, still pose a massive threat and Chelsea's after-match words outlined the scale of the task awaiting them if they are to meet Manchester United or Arsenal in Rome in the final.

The La Liga leaders are such a potent threat that the odds may well be against Chelsea keeping them out at Stamford Bridge. And Barcelona know just a single goal in the return leg will leave Chelsea facing a massive task, although they face handicaps of their own with influential defender Carles Puyol suspended and Rafael Marquez out after injuring his knee.

Eto'o delivered a timely warning to Chelsea and made a telling point when he said: "They won't be able to play like they did today, just waiting on everything in their own half. Drawing at home is not a bad thing for the team. Playing away in the return leg just means we have to score that away goal that will settle us."

Chelsea's advantage is a slender one, but in Hiddink they have the coach for all occasions, a man with the tactical flexibility to meet the different demands they will face next week.

They will still require all his expertise and their own vast reserves of character to make that last leap to another final and a tilt at redemption following the defeat on penalties against Manchester United in Moscow.


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  • Comment number 1.

    poor match, but I agree with Etoo's point, Chelsea will have to open up at Stamford Bridge and this could easily play into Barcas hands, though without Marquez and Puyol, Drogba will certainly fany his chances..

    Certainly an intriguing match at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea will want to go through in normal time, and Barca will struggle to dfend but have so much talent going forward its had not to see them scoring.

  • Comment number 2.

    It was an absolutely intriguing match to watch. Chelsea should be very happy with their highly disciplined performance. I believe that Essien and Mikel had a fantastic match and done well to stick so close to Xavi and Iniesta. I believe that if Chelsea can keep them quiet again at Stanford Bridge we have an excellent chance of progressing. Should be a thrilling encounter. For next season i think we definitely need a player with flair, a player capable of changing a game in a flash, and "Big Guss"

  • Comment number 3.

    I think hiddink played a very risky game, giving so much possesion to barcelona and could have easily been punished. As it is it paid off and no one will critisise him.

  • Comment number 4.

    if chelsea are to go through, they have a very good chance of scoring from crosses and set pieces. so much hight and airial ability and barca aren´t the biggest team. i hope the ref at the bridge isn´t italian or portuguese and lets the game flow like the good german ref did tonight. good luck chelsea

  • Comment number 5.

    You could just imagine the negative, judgmental reaction from the English press had an Italian team put in that kind of performance at Camp Nou (or Old Trafford/Anfield for that matter).

    But, no. Since it was an English side who were holding on for dear life, it's labeled as 'resilient', 'brave' and even 'encouraging'.

    The fact of the matter is; two English sides have gone to Camp Nou in the last 12 months and neither had any intention of bagging that away goal. The possession figures reveal all you need to know. Tellingly, both Man Utd and Chelsea's best opportunities were borne from Barcelona errors - Ronaldo's missed penalty, Scholes' goal from a misplaced Barca pass, and Drogba's one-on-one with Valdes after Marquez' shoddy back-pass.

    For a league that champions adventure and industry, these attributes were conspicuous only through their absence. For two seasons running.

  • Comment number 6.

    Chelsea were contained to play the men, rather than the ball... Hiddink must have thought of scoring 1 away goal, but that couldn't happen. And now the game has become very dangerous for chelsea. They need to open up at stamford bridge, and they need one more goal than barca to win the encounter in normal time. Trust me, there will be goals in second leg. They can't sit back in both the legs...

  • Comment number 7.

    The true legacy of champions?! I think not! Chelsea played football like a league two club playing in an FA cup match desperate for a replay! It was functional, defensive and dull - with so many men behind the ball that it was embarassing to think that this was supposedly one of the big four in the premier league! Remember the Euro 2004 winners(Greece)? They were functional and defensive too - but would anyone speak fondly of the way they played their football?

  • Comment number 8.

    @Milan Fan. Rubbish! We've heard all about Barca and just how great they are, a goalscoring machine etc. That's 3 CL semi's against the best of the PL and not a single goal to show for it.

    The game's about tactics and defence as well as attack, and Barca have come-up short against 2 of the best defences in Europe.

    Basically, Chelsea did what Utd did last season. They said: "We're tired hearing how good you are. Here's the ball, you can play all you like until you get to within 25 yards of our goal, after that you shall not pass...... unless of course you really are that good.

    So far they've failed to prove that they are.

    Well done Chelsea. Finish the job at the Bridge.

  • Comment number 9.

    Makes me laugh all the Chelsea knocking! If we would have won the jelous crowd would still be writing us off.
    Defending is just as much an art as attacking as United showed against us in the last years cup final. When they run out of ideas they saw penalties and defended for that result.
    If it would have been Liverpool last night they would be hero's for not conceding against one of the best attacking teams in Europe and everybody would be saying oh Gerard is the best in the world and they will do them at Anfield. Anyone care to remember our 4-2 result against an infinitely better Barca team before, which was also the 2nd leg which was also at the bridge?
    All i can say is, Rome here we come and this time there will be no penalty shoot out because hopfully we will get Arsenal.

  • Comment number 10.

    Throughout the 95 minutes of play keeper Petr Cech was in the right place at the right time. He is too good a goalkeeper and will have an important role to play in the return leg. Containing the likes of Messi, Henry, Eto'o and Iniesta has never been easy for keepers this season. I am eagerly waiting to watch what Pep Guardiola and Guus Hiddink come up with in a week's time. Rafael Marquez appeared to be in severe pain. Let's wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to the pitch.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 11.

    I do find it ironic that one year on, Chelsea are being praised for their defensive display whereas Man Utd were ridiculed for their similar approach in last year's semi. OK, I'll accept that Barcelona are probably a better, more free-scoring side than last year, but many of the same players are still there. So I'm slightly irked by all this praise. What price on Lampard scoring early on next week to send Chelsea through 1-0?

    Nevertheless, congratulations to Chelsea for a sound defensive display. As you said Phil, Hiddink has them to adapt to his tactics depending on what's necessary. Messi, although technically brilliant (as he was last year) couldn't find the edge that makes him a week in-week out match winner in La Liga, and although their passing was impressive, they didn't really penetrate Chelsea's backline to create that many clear chances; when they did, Cech proved he's one of the world's greatest shot stoppers.

    However, Hiddink saying they were going to attack. Yeah right...

  • Comment number 12.

    I feel Chelsea we have to beat Barca in the 2nd leg to go through, but we have a great chance.

    Boswinga did well defensively, but in terms of balance we missed A.Cole badly last night. People forget that Chelsea build up a lot of moves from the left back position through Cole, and Boswinga being naturally right footed just could not get forward, or make a decent pass from his left foot. We will be much more of a threat with Cole and Boswinga in their natural positions, especially with Barca are missing 2 CBs.

    As for Barcelona, I thought their diving, play acting and attempts to get players booked was shameful. They made our own Didier Drogba look like an amateur. I remember Henry complaining about them after the 2006 CL final agst Arsenal, but I guess he thought if you can't beat them, then join them. I have lost a lot of respect for Barcelona after last night.

  • Comment number 13.

    It was dour stuff wasn't it and only one team contributed anything worthwhile. If Chelsea do make the final, it will be a repeat of last years bore, regardless of the opposition.
    For the second season running, English based teams (for they are no longer 'English' teams) have made up the last 4 and for the second season running, they are turning neutral fans away with this type of performance.
    The cream of europe? Nah!

  • Comment number 14.

    To One of the finest free kicks.

    Last year's CL final was widely reported in international papers as an excellent game of football, and guess what? It was!

    You memory is conveniently short term too...were the two matches between Liverpool and Chelsea dull?

    You sound like yet another jealous anglophobe!.

  • Comment number 15.

    You could stick equally well with any one of three premises,
    1. Chelsea worked hard and were lucky against a very attack-minded team,
    2. Chelsea worked hard but were bailed out by the heroic Petr Cech,
    3. Chelsea were hardworking and disciplined enough to play to a very sound plan given to them and deserved some luck that came their way.

    The three are not mutually exclusive but as a summation, the last one appeals most.

    All individual components of Chelsea's defensive plan clicked, the keeper was outstanding and distinctly world class today. To see the amount of attention Malouda received from the opposing defence is encouraging in that he is now a big asset at Chelsea. Drogba had a great chance but was well stopped by Valdes and Marquez. Best chance was Ballack heading wastefully over.

    Drogba continues to be a relentless threat. The way Puyol tried to take him out was a pointer to some sharp thinking from Barca. Puyol already out of Stamford Bridge, would not have been hurt by a red card. The prospect of a windfall dividend was too tempting. Its a tribute to Drogba's level of fitness that he escaped serious injury in an innocuous looking but a very dangerous lunge from behind.

    Barca's best chances fell to Eto'o, Henry, Iniesta, Bojan and Hleb. The,first three involved good reaction from the heroic Cech. Messi was well covered but he was free when he had a good footer from a corner. It was on a platter for Bojan. Chelsea were lucky Bojan was in front of Messi who was again free, may not have missed.

    Let us forget about home advantage in the return leg. When did Chelsea last use home advantage. It has faded from my memory ever since that deflected goal by Liverpool when they cut their longstanding home record.

    The tie is a challenge to the tactical nous of the two managers. Chelsea must find a way to put it across the great Barca, who would be favored. Their approach will have to be very similar to the one in this encounter, with a hope they grab their chances and Barca do not. Barca are going to miss Marquez much more than Puyol. Chelsea missed Ashley. Eligible to join now?

  • Comment number 16.

    Shocking football. Anti Football. It goes to show how much money rides on the thing. Gone is the love and appreciation for the beautiful game.
    I am pretty Certain I saw the same match last year in Barcelona only against Man Utd. I think the overall result will be same. Messi Dissappeared. I think chelsea mustered two shots. It's half time in a boring game, and the final will be as boring as well.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is a joke....... come on Chelsea were meant to be one of the best teams in europe (or so we made to bleive) all they did was sit back and sometimes ride on their luck, I feel sorry for all chelsea fans paying alot of money to watch at least barcelona fans get their money's worth everytime they play.

    And guess what? Barcelona will play exact same game (dominating and keeping the ball) no matter where they are (stamford bridge, oldtraford)if chelsea decide to come out and play good, if not just sit with nine men behind their half way line and hope to nick one goal.

    PS: people coming up with comments like chelsea got advantage!!! when did drawing 0-0 away from home ever was a good result? (that is if you remember the away goal rule still applies in the CL)

    ooh I forgot, only if you playing against Barcelona.

    anyways 8 days from now we will know. But play like last night you may have a chance try to play football and attack and its suicidal.


  • Comment number 18.

    All right, so it may not have been the best game, Chelsea can go through, they just need the back four to keep their positions, and Cech to be in inspired form again, and get the ball up to Drogba, 'cause with no Marquez or Puyol, he will fancy his chances so much.

  • Comment number 19.

    In supervision it was a refreshing change from the PL ambience. The referee was fair and competent. He was nobody's fool and allowed the game to flow.
    Ballack was lucky to escape a second booking when he poked Iniesta's face in late 2nd half. But his first yellow was undeserved as it was craftily manufactured by Henry's histrionics, Ballack having clearly got to the ball well before Henry's act.
    Dani Alves was also masterful in feigning. Malouda managed to rattle him rather easily.

  • Comment number 20.

    "and get the ball up to Drogba," exactly, but how r they gana do that without committing players? and if they do that Barcelona wil pick them off easily. (remember last night when they commited alot of players for a chelsea corner and with in seconds Chelsea conceeded a corner, and Terry & them lot never had a chance to get back to position) do u think chelsea can survive 90 minutes of that? I dont think so. back four wont be enought you another back four to help them which means you will only have 2 players to spare use them wisely.

  • Comment number 21.

    As aneutral of last nights game i was suorised. I didnt think that chelsea were going to hold on. I thought that barca would have torn them apart. however i dont believe chelsea were all that last night.

    From reading your posts many of you here believe that Chech had a good game last night, NO HE DIDNT, he was still spilling balls and still made a meal out of commanding his penalty area. his critism has not ever been about whether he could stop a shot but of his basics and again they were all out of sorts last night.

    Terry and Alex were out done by eto when he went passed them like an effortless gazelle the midfield were so outplayed that they resulted in booting the barca players. Lampard was taken off as he was not in the game, no it was not a tactical decision as any one would have lamps over belletti. it was simple he was out of his depth in the position that he was asked to play.

    The only real problem last night was Barca final ball/finishing it was hopless, they couldnt have bought a goal last night and that was down to them, something which i am sure they will put right at the bridge.

    My only credit goes to Mono brow, as he kept messi out of the game last night and that ladies and gents was the reason why it was still 0-0 at full time, mono had a cracking game.

    as post 17 said we will know in 8 days who will be in the final.

  • Comment number 22.

    edgy, nervous, petty, tense, frustrating, boring, i didn't enjoy any of it.... what a wonderful performance to put in at Camp Nou and a great result.... Chelsea did a great job and a 0-0 there is a cracking result... It reminded me very much of Man Utds semi-final there last year.

    I know there will be the usual cry of the "away goals" brigade... but a 0-0 draw is better than a 2-1, 3-1 or whatever defeat... yeah it isn't as good as a 1-1 or 2-2 draw... but every single Chelsea fan and player would have taken a 0-0 draw before the game... and i don't think any Barca fans would have been pleased with the result.

    On a related note - is anyone actually able to listen to the ITV commentators (especially David Pleat) without thinking they have no idea about football and/or are watching a different game...???

  • Comment number 23.

    i honestly believe that the reason why united played like this last season was because of ronaldo penalty gave barcelona the lift and united had no choice but to defend. if ronaldo had scored, i believe united will not have played defensive football

  • Comment number 24.

    its ridiculous that some poeple consider the chelsea-Barca game as anti football/non football, what does people expect?? issit required that all the teams should play open football and allow Barcelona to play thier natural football with out man marking and defending? it is up to barcelona to break the stiff defence and score goals they cannot expect the opposition to reward them with easy goals,every one shoud do thier job,they should prove that they are not flat track bullies!the current bayern munich team cannot be considered as World class since they are playing for thier life in Bundesliga's CL spot and they r loosing at home against inferior teams ! I think if Barcelona plays like y'day they would suffer to score even against the mid table teams in PL.
    its unfair to blame chelsea for thier defensive game plan, the whole world would be singing for them if it was Liverpool. People have the habit of hating chelsea from the days of jose mourinho.

  • Comment number 25.

    I feel that Chelsea missed the boat last night, it was their chance to put pressure on Barca by counter attacking. When the two managers wake this morning and recap on the game in the cold light of day, then look at what they need to do in the return leg, the Barca manager will be the happier.

    I expect much of the same type of game in the second leg, Hiddink has learnt that his side can not compete with Barca in an open game, wether in Spain or England, so he will set up for soaking up more pressure and counter attacking.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Henry srart for on the bench for Barca and replaced by a more defensive midfield player and Messi pushed further forward.

    In short, all the people expecting an entertaining open game at the Bridge next week are going to be as disappointed as anyone who sat through last nights sham, but I guess the Chelsea loving English press will find a way of praising their mega rich buddies in blue whatever the outcome.....

  • Comment number 26.

    At the Bridge Chelsea will have to be more attack minded and this will definitely open up spaces for Barca's attacking game. In my view 0-0 result leaves Barca with a slight advantage because an away goal in the second match will make things far more difficult for the Blues

  • Comment number 27.

    Chelsea couldn't win in the eyes of a lot of people regardless of how they played.

    If they played like they did last night and go for a defensive display you get people whining that they're borning and negative.

    If they played with attacking flair and got ripped to shreds like Bayern did in the last round, we'd have everyone screaming saying their pub team could have defended better.

    As far as Chelsea are concerned, this was a good result for them away at one of the most imtimdating venues in the CL.

    And it sticks two fingers up at the people who have been critisising their defesive frailties in their last few games.

    2-1 to the Blues at the Bridge, from a Spurs fan.

  • Comment number 28.

    Chelsea and Liverpool took their gloves off for the Quarter final and it was a wonderful spectacle, yesterday Chelsea were up against arguably the best team in the world. The question was (and indeed still is), how do you beat the best?
    Well it was half answered yesterday - Don't get heavily beaten at the Nou Camp, and play the decider at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 29.

    Bosingwa was very lucky not to get booked in the first 10 mins or so.. would have been interesting if he wasnt so lucky!

  • Comment number 30.

    i honestly believe that the reason why united played like this last season was because of ronaldo penalty gave barcelona the lift and united had no choice but to defend. if ronaldo had scored, i believe united will not have played defensive football

    and to the main match yesterday, i am talking as a neutral person here but to be honest i dont think chelsea defended that well. probably cos o calvaho and cole. united last year defended with their lives but barcelona still had some few chances they could have put in. not looking forward to the return leg, chelsea though have the slight advantage.

  • Comment number 31.

    Actually Milan fan has a very valid point.

    The press lambasted Sunderland for setting their stall out to defend against Man Utd and Liverpool away calling it anti-football, when Chelsea (costing 100's of millions) do the same it's all brilliant tactics and spirited displays.

  • Comment number 32.

    to mambohammer..........

    "Chelsea loving English press".

    That's the funniest thing I have heard for a long time. I suggest you go a trawl through a few post dated copies of leading English newspapers before you make such incorrect comments.

  • Comment number 33.

    I didn't see anything to give Chelsea encouragement. They only just managed to hold on when they had eleven men in their own half for most of the match. They will have to try and score at home, and I can't see them keeping out Barcelona whilst scoring at the other end.

    Perhaps they will play for penalties, but in my opinion Barca are in the box seat.

  • Comment number 34.

    Coming away from Barcalona with a draw is a good result - ask any team in the world!

  • Comment number 35.

    "In short, all the people expecting an entertaining open game at the Bridge next week are going to be as disappointed as anyone who sat through last nights sham, but I guess the Chelsea loving English press will find a way of praising their mega rich buddies in blue whatever the outcome....."

    Defo agree m8.

    And all the people trying to say barca were unable to break the chelsea defence makes me lough. I mean come on at least barca were trying to do that, and chlsea done nothin still we praise chelsea for what? and criticise barcelona for not winning the game.

    that shows you the difference between the two teams and separates the big boys from the wanabees

  • Comment number 36.

    That was a great performance by Chelsea, and if Drogba had put away that golden chance in the 1st half then no-one could complain about there tactics on the night. But next time a team comes to Stamford Bridge and parks a bus in front of their goal let's not hear any complaints eh? =)

  • Comment number 37.

    and please, nobody should complain about man united being favoured by the ref after yesterday. barca had a clear penalty denied ad if it had happened to united, people will start blabbing.

  • Comment number 38.

    13. At 07:57am on 29 Apr 2009, One of The Finest Free Kicks wrote:


    these the same boring english teams the produced a 4-4 thriller in the quarters ? probably the best game of football seen this season, but yeah, english teams are ruining european football....

  • Comment number 39.

    It’s hilarious how until a few years ago continental commentators and fans laughed at the tactical ineptitude and naivety of English clubs.

    Now our clubs are displaying tactical nous they are all moaning about anti-football. One defensive performance amidst a slew of high scoring games. Last year after Man U drew 0-0, Rijkaard and Platini were crying. This year there’s more of the same. Do I detect a note of panic that the traditional virtues of English football are being combined with continental style tactical talent?

    “Milan Fan” wonders what the reaction would be to Italian teams playing like that. Well, Italians teams tend to play turgid stuff all the time, not just when absolutely necessary.

    Barcelona are without doubt the most dangerous team in world football at the moment. You can hardly blame anyone for being a but cagey at their place. Compare Chelsea’s result to Bayern, Lyon etc. More continental panic?

  • Comment number 40.


    Good blog and I think correct in what you say about the game last night for the most part. I agree that Chelsea defended excellently, and against Barcelona they had to. The spirit, determination and discipline was first class and no-one can really dispute that.

    Having said that, I don't think the vast gulf in class can be ignored. At times I felt like I was watching men v boys as Chelsea lumped long aimless ball after another straight through to Valdes. Barca then kept possession for long periods, looked absolutely composed on the ball, their passing and moving was superb, whereas Chelsea at times couldn't put two passes together.

    I am not naive enough to miss the fact that Barca didn't score, and because of that it is a decent result for Chelsea but do you not feel like it was a bit like watching England v Spain? Dogged defending just hoping to COPE with the superior, technical players?

    I think Barca will score an away goal in the return leg, making Chelsea have to come out and play. Once that happens Barca will not have 10 men behind the ball to get through and could go on to score 1 or 2 more. 3-1 to Barca in the second leg I reckon!

  • Comment number 41.

    Shame about the commentery last night...there is biased but last night was just downright disrespectful to Barcelona.

    At one point Lawrenson and commentator got into a frenzy about Puyol getting booked and how he was out of the next match..."here's hoping Alves is the next one to get booked and miss the next leg" was the sentiment. 5mins later the 5 live team were outraged at Barcelona players trying to get Ballack booked.

    Inconsistent hypocrites...

  • Comment number 42.

    I can see why most English teams are in general not respected as much as teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid or AC Milan worldwide. They have some of the pragmatic coaches and do what is best for their team - which is bringing them lot of success for last few years. But given the choice, no one would like to see these teams over Barcelona, AC Milan or Real Madrid. Also given the choice, no talented latin American young player would choose Chelsea or Liverpool over these teams.

    I hope English teams improve to be considered as footballing greats as these teams.

  • Comment number 43.

    its unfair to blame chelsea for thier defensive game plan, the whole world would be singing for them if it was Liverpool.
    Thing is Liverpool went there and won!

    However, Chelsea's game plan is only what any team would do at this stage. Boring to watch but very effective.

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't think Chelsea should be criticised for their tactics of last night. The "2 leg" cup tie more than encourages the team playing away from home to employ more defensive tactics- Liverpool have been doing it for decades. However, 0-0 is a decent result for both of last night's teams; as Phil says, Chelsea will have home advantage and Barca know that an away goal would make it very difficult for their opponents. Barca also have a fixture against Real Madrid this weekend and, having struggled to a draw against Valencia last Saturday, there is real pressure on that game. Barca could be feeling the effects at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

  • Comment number 45.

    Starfire_99 wrote:
    "Chelsea couldn't win in the eyes of a lot of people regardless of how they played.

    If they played like they did last night and go for a defensive display you get people whining that they're borning and negative.

    If they played with attacking flair and got ripped to shreds like Bayern did in the last round, we'd have everyone screaming saying their pub team could have defended better."

    Couldnt agree more with you. I watched ESPN broadcast of the match to Ghana and all the panellist concluded that Barca was going to win, some even predicted scorelines line 3-1, 2-0. They forget that like last season, it is only an English (based) club that will eliminate another English club. The other leagues lag behind England and if anybody watched Chelsea - Everton, one would realize how difficult the English league is. Spain , Germany and Italy would not give Barca any challenge like they would get in the top Premier League clubs. I would fancy Chelsea to go thru narrowly...

  • Comment number 46.

    An absolute joke everyone coming out the woodwork claiming it was men against boys, having a go at them for not going after Barca etc. Barca arguably are Europe's most in-form side at the moment and had in excess of 90,000 fans supporting them whereas Chelsea's were restricted to a distant corner.

    Chelsea managed to stop Barca scoring at Camp Nou, which is something no other side has managed this season. Anyone who thinks that Barca will be able to control the game at Stamford Bridge just as effectively as they did at Camp Nou either has either got carried away by recent results or has never watched football.

  • Comment number 47.

    Did anyone expect anything less from boring Chelsea? :-D

    In all honesty, they played a smart game, and although TH should have had a pen, it sets things up nicely for the return leg.

    As an Arsenal fan, I'd rather play Chelsea in the final than Barcelona.

  • Comment number 48.

    The game last night went exactly the way I predicted it. Chelsea showed a solid defence & easily held Barcelona at bay. The Catalan giants yet again flatter to deceive against one of the big English boys, which is why I am very suprised that Barcelona went into the tie as favourites. At the end of the day Eto is overrated, Henry is past his best & Messi just does not seem to do it against the English teams when it really matters in front of goal. Chelsea will easily go through at the bridge & book another dull affair with United in the final.

  • Comment number 49.

    i always think that having the 2nd game at home, then in the 1st leg, even if u loose (but not by a huge margin ofc) getting an away goal is key. think a 0-0 away is a terrible result on the whole. winning 1-0 at home u can get that sucker punch away goal at the end of the match... happens all too often.

  • Comment number 50.

    majority of the chelsea players won the physical battle against the Barcelona players, Malouda was constantly in duel with Alves and he succeeded in furstraiting Alves to an extend and alves failed to deliver any single good cross from the right side because he was always under the preasure from malouda, I think malouda was exceelent y'day and Chelsea should consider about his future.
    Having said that i should admit that during the game i felt like i was watching a PL game involving stoke/Blackburn/Bolton against a superior Side b'cos the physical battle was intense and the game was too boring.End of the day result matters, as a neutral fan i wish to see Barcelona /M.U final

  • Comment number 51.

    @Milan fan:

    Spot on what you have said. It amazes me how many people are suddenly praising this defensive master class but had that been the other way round the media would have murdered Barcelona.

    I can understand what Chelsea were up against and they were more than happy to sit there and soak up the pressure and they did what they went there to do. You can't argue with that. It is just the fact that everyone is now praising this English spirit and the Englishness of the performance. Yet out of the three English teams left in it you couldn't even get a 6-a-side team of English players. Great news for the national side, huh?

    People need to get out of the media cloud and form their own opinions instead of being brainwashed. Barcelona were the only team trying to play football last night and Chelsea were more than happy to stay in their bus and watch. The tie is not over and it will suit Barca if Chelsea attack. I say it will be 4-4 at the bridge!! :)

  • Comment number 52.

    re Post 48

    Another dull affair with United in the final?

    The final last year was a great game!

  • Comment number 53.

    " ..."here's hoping Alves is the next one to get booked and miss the next leg" was the sentiment. 5mins later the 5 live team were outraged at Barcelona players trying to get Ballack booked.

    Inconsistent hypocrites... "

    And did the 5 Live crew expressly hope that one of Chelsea players delibrately tried to get Alves booked?

    There is no amount of cheap sophistry the anti-English brigade will stoop to further their agenda.

  • Comment number 54.

    Loads of you lot are so stupid..go and play gung-ho attacking football at Camp Nou--Ha!! the best way to get through is do exactly what Chelsea did, and that's why English clubs are so dominant now in the Champions League. They have tactically astute managers who know more about football than me and you, and so tell them to keep a clean sheet. I admit not very entertaining for the fans but against such a good side as Barcelona, this result for Chelsea is thoroughly deserved, and i hope to see them progress next week.

  • Comment number 55.

    i wonder y the world class superstars like Messi/Ibrahimovic/Eto/Kaka fails to deliver against the ENglish teams during the crucial Matches???

  • Comment number 56.

    32. At 09:05am on 29 Apr 2009, norapeti wrote:
    to mambohammer..........

    "Chelsea loving English press".

    That's the funniest thing I have heard for a long time. I suggest you go a trawl through a few post dated copies of leading English newspapers before you make such incorrect comments.
    norapeti (nice name)
    I would suggest you look at the comments by the authors of various chelsea players biographies who are employed by the sports pages before jumping to the defence of the guilty.

    My honest opinion is that Chelsea get a possitive bias review from the press, I am sorry if this offends you in some way, but even us sub top four supporters are entitled to an opinion.

    PS. A quick quiz for you........
    What is the name of the main BBC morning sport presenter?, I will give you a clue, it starts with H, has six more letters and his dad played for a London club...

  • Comment number 57.

    It always amazes me how much some bloggers let their personal feelings toward teams cloud their judgement. Either that or half of them on here know little of football tactics, football history, football players, football drama and generally all football-related topics. One thing I can take pleasure from is that by the sound of it, they won't be watching the return leg as they are certain that both that and the final will be boring, boring, boring. May I ask of them, if you do find yourself watching it, please refrain from coming here the following day and showing yourself up. Thanks.

    As a quick postscript, I fancy Chelsea to win on the night. We can open up AND defend. Yes it will be hard but I'm sure it will be a different game than last night. I do think Essien should be back in the middle though.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 51, I reckon Foster, Rio, JT, Lamps Carrick and Rooney wouldnt be half bad (ok apart from foster!) plus there's still walcott, hargreaves and j cole (inj), scholes, ashley cole etc....

  • Comment number 59.

    i thought it was a good result last night for Chelsea - Man Utd did the same last year and we took some stick off people for playing quite defensively and allowing Barcelona to have the ball - but i dont think too many of us were that worried given we went on to win the trophy.

    and one more thing - how refreshing it was to see Yaya Toure get booked for trying to get one of the Chelsea players booked (cant remember which one now) in the first half by waving an imaginary card in the air. Good refereeing.

  • Comment number 60.

    On a related note - is anyone actually able to listen to the ITV commentators (especially David Pleat) without thinking they have no idea about football and/or are watching a different game...???

    Agreed, how David Pleat still has a job is beyond me!!!

    However a quote from 1 of the commentators last night had me laughing

    "Drogba is complaining to the referee of Barcelona play acting" classic!

  • Comment number 61.

    Rangers played exaclty like Chelsea did last night in the Champions League last season. When they did it they got slated for being Anti-football. Is it just because it's Chelsea it's a good perfromance??

  • Comment number 62.

    Chelsea and Hiddink deserve credit for preventing Barcelona scoring last night. Stopping a team that has 150 odd goals between them this season, with the front three netting around 90 is no mean achievement especially considering Barcelona have scored in every home game.

    The game wasn't aesthetically pleasing in the traditional sense but it was interesting watching Europe's most potent attack against a solid unit, watching them repel wave after wave.

    One disappointment was the tetchiness of the game. Niggling fouls, overreacting and disruptions of play. Marquez's injury and Henry's knock to the head in fairness looked horrible but others, Drogba and Dani Alves in particular were frustratingly going to ground far to easily. Alves particularly keen to get the camera on his red boots...

  • Comment number 63.

    Yes, it was dull, and all those blind long balls upfield to nobody in particular were sooo frustrating compared to Barca's beautiful passing. That was the only bit worth watching. I was fed up by half time and listened on the radio instead.

    But don't you think this is kind of inevitable when you have two great teams playing a two-leg match? I'd much rather watch a single match at a neutral venue, with extra time and penalties. Anyone agree?

  • Comment number 64.

    51. At 10:02am on 29 Apr 2009, darker1985 wrote:
    @Milan fan:

    Spot on what you have said. It amazes me how many people are suddenly praising this defensive master class but had that been the other way round the media would have murdered Barcelona.

    I can understand what Chelsea were up against and they were more than happy to sit there and soak up the pressure and they did what they went there to do. You can't argue with that. It is just the fact that everyone is now praising this English spirit and the Englishness of the performance. Yet out of the three English teams left in it you couldn't even get a 6-a-side team of English players. Great news for the national side, huh?

    how about this......

    Ben Foster/Almunia(!!)
    Wes Brown
    Rio Ferdinand
    John Terry
    Ashley Cole
    Owen Hargereaves
    Michael Carrick
    Frank Lampard
    Joe Cole
    Theo Walcott
    Wayne Rooney

    G Neville

    not a bad team in my view from the last three English teams in the Champs League. By my reckoning Barca only had four Spaniards in their starting line-up last night, so not much to crow about. And this is club football anyway, not international football in case you have not noticed, so you are allowed foreign born players in your team.

    also, i think you seem to forget that what you are reading is in the ENGLISH media - so it is probably going to have a little bias towards the ENGLISH team. Therefore what might be a negative performance from a Barcelona or Madrid becomes a good workmanlike performance from an English team.

    As someone else has said, too often English teams have been put down for being hard workers and tactically inept, now when they play a tactically good game they get put down for that, cant win sometimes!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Not sure what game people were watching but Peter Cech was not "world class" (though on form he most certainly is). He made a couple of regulation saves that had he not made would have gone down as goalkeeping errors, he fluffed at a few crosses and his main contribution seemed to be kicking the ball back to Barcelona as quickly as possible.

    Overall Chelsea defended well but didnt offer anything else which you would hope will change in the second leg but this tie is very much in the balance.

  • Comment number 66.

    How can anyone say that the game was poor? Does anyone remember Chelsea before Scolarri and Grant? Who was the best manager only a few years ago? Some would say Ferguson, some Benitez, but for evry blues fan it will always be Mourinho. Have you all forgotten his tactics and success that it brought to the club, when most of the games were won with a minimal margin, with almost no goals conceded? The team hasn't changed much and the tactics that Guus used agains Barca is very similar to what I have seen in the past from Mourinho. In the final stages of CL you don't need to show fancy football (I'm sure everyone had seen enough a couple of weeks back), you need to play tactically... Guus and the blues did an incredible job! It was like watching a Ferrari smashing at brick wall, over-and-over again... It was Beautiful. 1-0 at the bridge with a late goal would certainly prove my point.

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    Been engaged in a war about this all day, so ill try and be brief.

    Where was the alleged superiority of the permiership last night. The wolrd most expensive squad reduced to kicking the ball out of play constantly. Its anti football, and if chelsea ever want to be held in the same bracket as barca, they are 2 generations of attacking ambitious football away from it.

    My own team rangers, and the lesser lights of la liga get away with it simply becuase we are massivly outgunned. Chelsea, and manu b4 them are reduced to a backs to the wall job against a team that doesn buckle at the sight of them.

    hope all premiership'o'philes took note of that

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    Chelsea had no choice other than to defend and make the game a physical one, although that doesn't mean I enjoyed their performance. Drogba looked like he was shot in the back at least twice (although both teams were guilty of this). Unless Chelsea produce an absolutely fantastic performance at the Bridge I can't see them going through, unless Barca's back line gives them a few more gifts like Drogba's before half time, even then I think their front line should make up for it.

    Barca to go through (unless Guus can pull something spectacular out of the bag)

  • Comment number 71.

    Chelseas defence was strong, and Barca seem a team who dont practise scoring from set pieces enough because generally they dont need too...

    And ironically i have never seen so many set pieces and free kicks in 1 game, Chelsea were intent on knocking down anyone in possession just outside the box. Ballack probably should have got a double yellow, and perhaps the ref should have spoken to the captain about the continual "minor" infringements just outside the box, generally when Messi was on the ball.

    Barca showed they were the better side, admittedly at home against a team uninterested in attack, but you feel they need to get better at set pieces, Liverpool or Man utd with the strength of Rooneys free kicks would have got 2 goals last night, as they both have strong players from free kicks.

    I hope it wont prove to be the one weakness that knocks the top side of the league, but they now have a very big ask and need to score first at the bridge to force chelsea to attack them.

  • Comment number 72.

    Based on evidence from last night's game, the only way I can see Chelsea progressing is if they play like Bolton again in the second leg and get through on penalties. Yes, they were away from home but the key here is that, unlike Chelsea did at Camp Nou, Barcelona will not play a defensive game at Stamford Bridge. They will hunt for an away goal and pin Chelsea back just like they did last night.

  • Comment number 73.

    Having thoroughly enjoyed watching Barca play all season i was looking forward to finally getting to see an 'English' team drubbed in the CL again (its been a long time since Man U were thumped at the Nou camp in 94!!!)
    Alas it wasn't to be. Chelsea parked the bus and barca didn't have the final pass or the finishing to merit a victory last night. Some may feel they can commend chelsea for their performance last night but to be honest i can't find anything to laud about it. Parking the bus is a simple tactic but its effectiveness is usually dependent on the other sides luck in front of goal, better finishing by eto'o and bojan and chelsea would have been facing an unrecoverable 2-0 defecit. Parking the bus is a fair tactic for lower league sides but a side like chelsea, which cost a fortune to put together and is full of supposedly world class players should surely be able to play a defensive yet counter attacking formation against any team in the world!!! Last nights complete surrendering of possesion to barcelona was embarassing to behold and certainly does no credit to'english' football.
    Barca were poor last night, perhaps feeling the strain of all the matches they have played since the turn of the year, but it would be a very naive chelsea fan who would expect barca not to score at stamford bridge if they are given the lions share of the ball again. 2 bad games in a row from Barca isn't likely.
    Those that want an entertaining CL final must surely hope that Barca and Arsenal meet?!!?

  • Comment number 74.

    I suppose if the Barca fans were more "premiership-aware" they may have been chating "are you stoke in dusguise" at chelsea... :-P

  • Comment number 75.

    @ Jimmy

    I wasn't actually putting the English teams down. I am fully aware that they are going to be biased towards the English, It just rattles me when they are quick to pounce upon a foreign side that play this way. I have applauded Chelsea, they done what they went there to do.

    In regards to your English players, I think I worded it wrong, I actually mean players who have started, I think you will have to look over actual English players that have featured in the knockout stages, it isn't that many compared to the Italians and the Spanish.

    Oh and lets not get started on English managers, how many are there knocking about in the CL? Compare that with Spanish and Italian at their respective teams. I am fully aware that it isn't international football but it does have links to it, hence why we will all be watching the 1966 world cup final again next year. *Yawns

    I can't knock the premiership in terms of the power of the league and I never will, but we all know it is the money and the foreign talent that make it what it is and the English talent will continue to suffer for many years to come, which makes me sad more than anything.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hiddink ( another good old head )and Chelsea took a leaf out of SAF's playbook from last season and defended very well at their 20 yard line, conceded possession and said, shoot, if you score so be it; but that's as far as the comparison goes. When United were in possession , they tried to pass the ball and score whereas Chelsea played a Wimbledon 1987 long ball game.... too bad for football.!I counted 11 hoofs upfield from Cech's hands alone, rubbish really
    Watching on Portuguese television, their stats showed 233 Barcelona passes vs 78 for Chelsea after 40 minutes!! I agree that much is overdone by the Spanish team, but they looked like a real 'football' team.!
    I reckon the same tactics will apply at Stamford Bridge, but if Barcelona (as I expect )score the away goal, I don't see a way back for Chelsea as most of their squad were so slow and looked cumbersome against the slick movement ,passing and possession of Barcelona.
    I expect to see a better match tonight.
    Barcelona and Man United meeting in the final.

  • Comment number 77.

    I have to say I'm disgusted with how this result and indeed any result the big four get when they go away from home.

    In the domestic game team like Villa, Tottenham etc are derrided by fans and managers alike for a unispiring desfensive display yadda yadda yadda.......

    Yet when excatly the same is achieved when Utd go to Rome or Liverpool go to where ever and again last night when Chelsea barely got out of their half, they are lauded for tactical genius and a show of discipline.

    We are meant to be the best league in the world......I can fault Barc at least they went for it, they've hammered both Lyon and Munich in previous rounds....

    Total rubbish last night

  • Comment number 78.

    I thought Barcelona were pretty average, I mean they are playing against Chelsea in the semi-final of the champions league, at home in front of 90,000 supporters or so, there opponents basically have no intention of playing attacking football, no wonder there own support booed them at the end, really not good enough. As for Chelsea they were negative to the point of boring, sure keep it tight at the back, but how many times were Chelsea even in Barca's own box, Barcelone have a weak defence, but Chelsea never looked like testing it, Drogba once.

    An attacking team like Liverpool I reckon would have walked away with something last night at the nou camp, Chelsea lacked any ambition, made for quite a poor game, but will be happy with the 0-0. Game on.

  • Comment number 79.

    Barca showed they were the better side, admittedly at home against a team uninterested in attack, but you feel they need to get better at set pieces, Liverpool or Man utd with the strength of Rooneys free kicks would have got 2 goals last night, as they both have strong players from free kicks.


    I wondered why, out of all the free kicks they were awarded, Henry was never given the opportunity to bang one in. Two of the free kicks in particular, taken by Xavi and Alves, were slap-bang in Henry territory.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    darker1985 u r right there and Jimmy you are wrong. You list players not playing in your Englsih side for one things
    BUT MOST importantly. Last night 6 players that played were not only Spanish but local Catalan boys. And Messi has been with Barca since he was 12 so has grown up with them. This is why they are so good. They have the Barca colours deep in their blood and heritage and have been playing together for years. Its also one of the reasons the Spanish side is currently the best in the world.

    And they play football. All these people that say football is also about defence...yeh yeh yeh...just get back in the bus, park it, scrape thru and hope everyone forgets when you get the cup for being the best in doesn´t generate the money and capture the global imagination as most exciting sport through sticking a wbole team in your own half for 90 minutes....and getting a draw. WELL DONE Chelsea. You are the Bolton, Stroke City of international football. A mastre class of defence, blah blah blah. PAH!

    And Ballack should have been red carded! Unbelievable that Barca got same amount of yellows after Chelseas bullying and negative game...

  • Comment number 82.

    strange game. chelsea defended well, no doubt. but barce still shouldve won. eto, hleb had great chances, henry probably shouldve had a penalty to be honest. and bojan...that is why he doesnt start. what a miss. kindof reminds me of arsenal against ac milan last year actually.

    if chelsea can remain compact while getting ballack, lampard, malouda and drogba forward, then they can score, but they needed an away goal at camp nou. they really did. barca can open them up even at stamford bridge, and they werent even that good last night.
    personally i found it fascinating. the movement as barca tried to unlock chelsea was great, chelseas defending movement was better. but at the same time, tactically, barca had no plan b other then smashing messi, eto and co into the brick wall that was the middle of chelseas defence. they shoulve have used alves more- when messi moved off the right and bosingwa followed him, barca shouldve been hitting alves and the space he was in - constantly he had space but wasnt found, and when he was, he found bojan 2 yards out who sco- oh wait, no he didnt score.

    itll be interesting as to what guardiola does for the next leg. im not worried about their defenders- barca defend as a team, but will they exploit alves more? more interestingly, ashley cole is back - will he be used over bosingwa?

    personally, cant wait for next week.

  • Comment number 83.

    My goodness, negative cagey anti football... do me a favour please! I rememeber a time when English fans wanted english clubs to do well on the european scene... Hating on another club wont bring any sucess to your own... And i think being the ONLY team that Barca have failed to score against at home this season is something all the Chelsea boys should be mighty proud of... Hope you smash em' at the Bridge, 2 successive season of an all English Final... No doubting we have the best league in the world...

  • Comment number 84.

    Agree with Milan fan (post 5) totaly. Horrible match to watch. Chelsea played worse than United did there last season, and I thought that would have been almost impossible. But while United looked to sneak a goal from somewhere, it was as if Chelsea only wanted a draw.
    If the 4-4 that Liverpool and Chelsea played out was an advert for the brillience of the premiership, then yesterday was a warning to stay away from England if you want to see the beautiful game.

  • Comment number 85.

    A Barca goal at the Bridge next week will set the cat amongst the pigeons. In between times Barca visit the Santiago Bernabeu for Spain's "El Gran Clasico" this Saturday for what will surely be the La Liga decider. This huge domestic fixture with days of pre match hype and post match analysis has probably come at the wrong time for the Catalans. Chelsea are now in pole position to advance to the final, the crucial thing next week though is to shut Barcelona out. Chelsea have the firepower to notch a couple against a mediocre looking Barca back four, now without Rafael Marques and Carles Puyol and need to counter the threat of Andres Iniesta, if they can manage both I fancy their chances against whoever in Rome on May 27th.

  • Comment number 86.

    Yesterday i heard that the top 4 EPL teams would win La Liga easily as it was a league full of waiters apparently(?). How funny then, that Chelsea went to the Nou Camp and were that frightened in engaging in a football match that they rarely crossed the half way line. A 'feat' previously achieved by Man Utd both home & away! The EPL worshipers are calling Chelsea's performance brave, magnificent defending, ironic that these same supports would be describing this as boring, anti football if it had been say- Milan. Last night was a sad day for the beautiful game and for Roman Abramovich, to spend £700/800 million and have a team unable to even dare attempt to take on Barcelona at a football match cant be what he invisioned. Guus Hiddink proved that he can hide the truth with the best of them- we will go to attack & play, not set out to just stop them at any cost- was his pre match battle cry. Chelsea fans may have hope the next time he spins the yarn about going back to the Russian national job. So the conclusion- the most expensive squad in world football bar Man utd (possibly), from the 'best' league the EPL, faced(cant really used 'played') Barcelona and were so inferior to Barca that they adopted the mantle of a non-league side playing Man U in the 3rd round of the FA Cup! For the 2nd leg Barcelona had better pack their Wellies as Chelsea will probably flood Stamford bridge to stop any football being played!

  • Comment number 87.

    Those that want an entertaining CL final must surely hope that Barca and Arsenal meet?!!?

    Maybe on paper, but from memory the Arsenal Barca final was perhaps the dullest of all recent champions league finals!

    Id love a man utd V barca final, the best players in the world on the biggest stage, no home advantage, no away goals, just the 2 powerhouses going for it!

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil you're correct that Cech made several important saves, but on the other hand he dropped a few crosses and his kicking from back passes (of which there were many) was absolutely atrocious, continually slicing it out of play or failing to make halfway, which put his own team under constant pressure. So not quite the imperious performance you suggest.

  • Comment number 89.

    Terrible game to watch. Anyone who thinks otherwise must have just watched the highlights. Chelsea just set out to stifle Barca and park the bus and hope for a draw.

    Cech made one or two routine saves. Eto'o still should have scored when he burst through. The rest of the game he spent punting the ball up towards Drogba or out of play, in either instances gifting Barca possession back. I'm very surprised you don't mention his absolutely awful distribution last night. It was very obvious and frustrating.

    Chelsea had one chance, a present for Drogba and he should've scored. But it was really a dull dull dull game of football.

  • Comment number 90.

    Are Barcelona guilty of being a little one-dimensional in attack? Dont get me wrong, its a pretty fantastic dimension, but thats now the third game in a row against English opposition where theyve failed to score. It seems theyre so concerned with carving teams open and scoring the perfect goal that they dont do enough of the ugly things. Their best chance last night was when they simply got to the byline and whipped a cross to the far post (I think it was Bojan who put it over). That was in injury time and I think it was the first time they tried something that simple. If they had done that 5 or 6 times throughout the game they most likely would have won.

  • Comment number 91.

    Very good result for Chelsea to get a draw in Camp Nou. It's all about getting through and if the way to do it is to park the bus then why not? Barcelona's attitude to the game is a joy, always passing, moving and probing, it may not have resulted in them getting the goal but they showed great faith in their style of play and some of the skills of Iniesta in tight situations were fantastic to watch. Chelsea's discipline was fantastic and they should be pleased to have kept a clean sheet away to Barcelona. It will be interesting to see how Chelsea approach the return leg, whether they try to attack more or concentrate again on not conceding. I expect Barcelona will again have the majority of possession but if it is mainly facing a crowded penalty area they may again struggle. My guess would be that Chelsea will go for an early goal in the first 10-15 minutes trying to upset the rhythm of Barcelona with a high tempo and the full backing of the crowd. If they don't get it they'll quickly back off and Barcelona will take control of the tie with Chelsea relying on the long ball. Slight advantage to Chelsea now I think, could hinge on how Barcelona do against Real at the weekend, lose and their season could implode, win and the confidence could carry them past Chelsea.

  • Comment number 92.

    Good Blog Phil,

    I've got say a bit dissapointed with the match last night mainly due to the way Chelsea chose to aproach the game. However I'm a neutarl and wanted goals if I was a Chelsae fan I would be fairly pleased as the got the result they were aiming for ( though it reminded me for Scotland playing France in the qualifers), and both fullback played outstandingly well espically Bosingwa.

    While Chelsea set out for the draw I still think this leaves Barca in the driving seat as they only need a draw and with Chelsea having to attack in the next leg Braca will score and thus question how wise there plan was, mind you Gus Hidink probably know a bit more than me about football.

    Also why do foreign based star rarely perform against the big English sides 1st Ibrahimovic was dire and last night Messi posted missed for most of the game. Is that they bottled against them, The English side just shut them and there service down or are these players just overrated?

  • Comment number 93.

    All of this bitterness stems from the fact that our "English media" talked up Barcelona so much all neutral fans were looking to enjoy watching Chelsea get a sound drubbing.

    Unfortunately, Chelsea left those bitter fans very dissapointed.

    The home leg will be much different, Barcelona have an average defence at best and Chelsea will definately attack. Add to that the fact that they are playing Real this weekend and they will be missing key defensive players for the return leg, I think it is GAME ON!

  • Comment number 94.

    Good to see Cattenacio very much alive and kicking, Utd used it last year against Roma and Barca, Chelsea last night.

    English teams use it more than Italian sides these days.

  • Comment number 95.

    12. At 07:51am on 29 Apr 2009, norapeti wrote:
    I feel Chelsea we have to beat Barca in the 2nd leg to go through, but we have a great chance.

    Now that's stating the obvious !!!!!

  • Comment number 96.



  • Comment number 97.

    The result might have been decent for Chelsea but so many Chelsea fans on here seem to be assuming that because Barcelona didn't score last night that it will be the same at the Bridge! With pretty much everyone behind the ball Chelsea managed to grind out a draw and carried next to no attacking threat (Drogba's chance was a Barca mistake not Chelsea attacking) and even then Barca had chances to score and will be kicking themselves that they didn't.

    So when Chelsea have to commit some people forward and spread out a bit more do you think Barcelona are necessarily going to be so wasteful? The Chelsea defence will have to be better next week than last night I think to go through...

    I personally do think it is a shame though that a team costing so much and with so much money can't do a bit more with a football...

  • Comment number 98.

    Abdibarca wrote “When was 0-0 away in the first leg a good result?” (comment 17)

    2009 1st knockout round Inter 0-0 Man Utd, Utd win 2nd leg at home
    2008 SF Barca 0-0 Man Utd, Utd win 2nd leg at home
    2008 1st round Olympiakos 0-0 Chelsea, Chelsea win 2nd leg at home
    2007 1st round Celtic 0-0 Milan, Milan win 2nd leg at home
    2006 QF Benfica 0-0 Barcelona, Barcelona win 2nd leg at home
    2006 QF Lyon 0-0 Milan, Milan won the home leg
    2005 SF Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool, Liverpool win 2nd leg at home
    2004 SF Porto 0-0 Deportivo, Porto win the 2nd leg away
    2004 1st round Sparta 0-0 Milan, Milan win 2nd leg at home

    So this season and the 4 previous ones there have been 9 ties where the first leg was goalless and in 8 of those ties the team with the second leg at home won the tie. I notice both Barcelona and Chelsea have progressed after drawing 0-0 away, and been eliminated after drawing 0-0 at home.

    Also, Barcelona have lost on 3 of their 4 visits to Stamford Bridge (1999 3-1, 2005 4-2, 2006 1-2, 2007 1-0)

    0-0 at Camp Nou is a good result, no question.

  • Comment number 99.

    Messi-contained by Boswinga? Is scything Messi down classed as containment? I guess in the EPL is it, as last season Scholes delivered the same rough house 'containment' at old trafford.
    On a different note, i've had the fortune to see every Barca game pre dating the Rijkaard era and they do even to this day have one chink. When an opposition team has no intention of playing football and are happy just to sit in, Barca will not adopt a win ugly tactic - i.e. the famous Man U fergietime tactic- load the box with players and pump balls in hoping for a knock down. It might not be artistry, but as Man U fans lament all to often, it can be effective. BTW, the chelsea team are going on the barcelona stadium tour today, the are hoping to see the other end of the pitch! LOL

  • Comment number 100.

    @Milan Fan "You could just imagine the negative, judgmental reaction from the English press had an Italian team put in that kind of performance at Camp Nou (or Old Trafford/Anfield for that matter)."

    I am so glad you brought that up.. In case you may have forgotten let me refresh your memory. Last year in the Champions league first knockout stage, AC Milan went into the first leg at Emirates and parked the bus.. all they wanted was not to concede, which they achieved.. though it didn't help them much later...

    Inter Milan adopted the same tactics at Anfield last year and if you pull out the statistics in those two matches you'll see that these two teams barely had any shots at the goal. So by your logic, these two top Serie A sides did exactly that didn't they?

    I would like to hear your take on that..


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