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Only one statistic matters for Chelsea: One chance, one goal

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Phil McNulty | 07:36 UK time, Thursday, 19 April 2012

At Stamford Bridge

Chelsea fans taunted their Barcelona counterparts with chants of “Jose Mourinho” as they made their way out of Stamford Bridge only 90 minutes away from the Champions League final.

This added insult to the injuries felt by those clad in Catalan colours, who cheered the sight of the defeated Mourinho as images from Real Madrid’s loss against Bayern Munich in the other semi-final flashed on to big screens before kick-off.

Barcelona’s long game was to face Mourinho in the final in Munich next month – and inflict painful defeat on the man who has been a past nemesis. But Chelsea threw those plans into doubt.

Not only do Mourinho’s Real now face a fight to reach their destination, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is in a similarly hazardous position after Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead to take to the Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Didier Drogba

Thumbs-up: Didier Drogba scored the only goal as Chelsea defeated Barcelona at Stamford Bridge. Picture: Getty

For all the mentions of Mourinho, this was a night of triumph for Chelsea’s caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo - complete with a nod to the past in their resilience, determination, discipline and downright defiance of the odds.

If Mourinho had presided over this performance rather than Di Matteo, it would no doubt have been lauded as a defensive masterclass and a result fashioned around meticulous preparation.

Barcelona enjoyed a 72% share of possession. Chelsea’s Juan Mata received the ball nine times in his 76 minutes on the pitch compared with Xavi’s 133 times in 87 minutes. Barcelona had 24 attempts on goal and Chelsea had only one shot on target throughout a long evening of attrition.

And for all the small details and fine margins that will always shape games at this stage of the Champions League, this was the only statistic that mattered. One shot. One goal. Now there may be one last tilt at glory in a tournament that has made a habit of inflicting pain on this particular Chelsea side.

Guardiola may be a purist with Barcelona’s principles in his DNA but he is also a realist as he swept aside statistical analysis to state: “The game is about putting the football in the goal. It is the most difficult thing in the game.”

Chelsea took their one chance, providing the platform for the possibility of reaching a second Champions League final after the return in Barcelona.

Guardiola insists Chelsea are now favourites and statistically - that word again - they are, because they hold an advantage and have not conceded an away goal. Barcelona, however, will still have real confidence that this defeat will be a passable obstacle en route to Munich.

The easy option is to suggest Chelsea simply rode their luck, hung on and will meet the full force of European football’s artists in the Nou Camp. Some of this is true but any side that beats Barcelona should not see their achievement downgraded. Plenty have tried and failed - many miserably.

Guardiola was swift to point out that the second game is no easy task for Barcelona. He hinted at a greater sense of adventure and risk-taking, words that may just encourage Chelsea as they know the value of an away goal in Spain.

Chelsea will have to produce all they did at Stamford Bridge and more besides – but at least they travel to Catalonia with a precious lead to protect, presumably in the same manner they did on Wednesday.

Of course Chelsea enjoyed good fortune as Alexis Sanchez hit the bar early on and Pedro struck the base of a post in the closing seconds. Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas also wasted a perfect opportunity to mark his return to London with a goal and saw another shot cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.

These are facts of life when facing Barcelona. They will dominate possession, create chances and exert physical and mental stress on you with such sustained force that the chances are you will break.

At these pressure points, as Chelsea demonstrated, the key is not to panic, not to make that vital mistake – then take the opportunity when it presents itself.

Chelsea did this, which makes it such a victory to be cherished. No-one should underestimate a win against Barcelona by any side and certainly not one in a Champions League semi-final.

Di Matteo demanded two “perfect” performances to reach the final. This was not perfect but it contained enough of the old Chelsea steel to get the job done.

And while the smart money remains on Barcelona to win through, Chelsea showed they have a template that will serve them well when the sides meet again. They also have a result that will give them genuine hope of getting through.

Di Matteo acknowledged that Barcelona present a unique challenge with their tiki-taka passing game and the world-class talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. He agreed they needed to be patient, disciplined and clinical in all parts of the pitch.

Chelsea also had their individual heroes, especially in defence. Goalkeeper Petr Cech was equal to all Barcelona’s best efforts, Ashley Cole and John Terry were simply outstanding, while Gary Cahill can take his self-belief and confidence to a new level when he reflects on the maturity of his performance.

In midfield, once again proving he is a bargain among the more expensive pieces, Chelsea found a stabilising influence in the ever-reliable Ramires. The Brazilian is moving away from his status as an unsung hero, rightly winning the plaudits of Stamford Bridge after doing so much more than set up Drogba’s winner.

And then there is Drogba himself. Part-drama queen – some of his theatrics bordered on high farce – and part attacking monster, ready and willing to rough up any defence. Yes, he embarrassed himself and irritated Barcelona with the trademark amateur dramatics, but he is still a force to be reckoned with and justified Di Matteo’s key decision to prefer him to Fernando Torres.

Di Matteo can also take huge credit. He got his tactics and choices spot on, his game plan backed by the organisation, especially in defence, that fashioned this win. Chelsea now need to do it all again on Tuesday – but suddenly the weight of pressure has switched to Barcelona.


Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Don't give Soul Patch a chance! The job is less than half done so any gloating, please leave it to after the end of BOTH legs. Both Barca & RM can overturn these results very easily.
    DON'T FEED THE TROLL Don't do the we're better than you yet. Here's hoping though

  • Comment number 2.

    Chelsea's defence was fantastic and, amazingly, three of the defenders are English!!

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.


    Was a god performance from Chelsea last night and I have to be honest I didn't give them much of a chance but they managed to mostly snuff out Messi who for probably the first time i've ever watched him had a quiet game.

    Still all to play for though and doing the same at the Nou Camp may prove more difficult.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    Love the "Drama Queen reference"

  • Comment number 8.

    How crap is that!? It actually said be the first to comment then it shows up at 5! Now I just look silly!

  • Comment number 9.

    Fair play to Chelsea, they rode their luck at times which surely every team has done in the past at some time or other, but ultimately a wins a win. Quite surprised that Barcelona were a bit subdued last night. Not in the way they played but in all the play acting and charging at the ref every time a decision goes against them or a gust of wind knocks Biscuits over.

  • Comment number 10.

    Come on, yes the only statistic that counts is the goal but that was like watching Doncaster away to Manchester United. Chelsea rode their luck immensely. You never know in football but I don't believe a repeat is on the cards...

  • Comment number 11.

    Has anybody seen Gary Linecker's head? cos he tweeted before the game that he rarely stick his neck out because whenever he does, it usually gets caught in the door,but he would this time and and said that there was going to be only one winner and that's Barca. What else is new. Congrats Chelsea, let everybody downplay your heroics, let them call Drogba a drama queen, he did achieve and justify his place in the team, scored the only goal and broke up Barca's rhythm. Guardiola said it all, the purpose of a football match is to put the ball in the opponent's net, simple and very hard to do.

  • Comment number 12.

    Chelsea just need to do the same as they did last night... stop barcelona from scoring and keep a tight defence. It was a cracking game last night, one break and one shot was all that was needed for Chelsea. But its going to be tough to stop Barcelona from scoring the Nou Camp, cough cough....Messi. If barcelona do score then Chelsea need to play a lot better than last night.

  • Comment number 13.

    besides what do Chelsea do now? On saturday they play Arsenal. Do they leave their star perfomers out or do they play both against Arsenal and barcelona?
    Chelsea know they are going to run a lot without the ball in Nou Camp so they need fresh legs.
    What do they do?

  • Comment number 14.

    Very pedantic of me, but in the summary on the main page it mentions 'posession' and not possession. Not very professional!! As for the article, I think it provides an accurate summary of the situation. Barcelona are clearly technically superior, however last night they weren't at the races and missed some guilt edge chances. Alexis, Cesc and Busquets missed chances that Barcelona usually convert, and this was Barcelona on a poor night. Given that they have to play Real at the weekend, I'm not convinced that we will see them in full flow on Tuesday either. Chelsea might just have a chance...

  • Comment number 15.

    Drogba was back to his best last night, some of his diving and theatrics were reminisant of him in his prime.

  • Comment number 16.

    Once again Guardiola has not won a match against Chelsea. Played 3, drew 2 and lost 1 and yet again Messi drew blanks. I'm loving this sport. Hope Chelsea go all the way now but tough shot this at the Nou Camp.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    "there is nothing wrong with trying to win, as long as you don't set the prize and the garland above the game itself"

    'one shot one goal' may well be "the only statistic that matters" to some people, but to others football is and always will be about far more than that

  • Comment number 19.

    Chelsea are an embarrassment, 11 men behind the ball at home is disgraceful it was like both teams were playing two entirely different games. English football is a joke right now compared to the continental teams and for the beautiful games' sake I hope Barcelona thrash them by about four or five which they probably will.

  • Comment number 20.


    My guess is that the FA have to wait for the court case to be over before they can act.

    In the UK you are presumed innocent until proven guilty so he is allowed to paly on.

  • Comment number 21.

    Maybe just maybe Barcelona aren't actually that good without Messi firing??!!

    They are simply like Spain if Messi is not on it, very good at getting results bur DREADFULLY dull to watch.

    Barca are probably the best highlights package you could watch but pay money to watch them week in week out - no way!

    Give me out and out wingers everyday of the week. Before people have a go, i'm not saying they're not an extroardionarily good team i'm just saying they bore me for the majority of the games i watch them in!

  • Comment number 22.

    @14 - If you are going to be pedantic about spelling, best check your own first. I think you meant gilt not guilt!

  • Comment number 23.

    A magnificent performance from the Blues that sets up a cracking return.
    Barcelona will need to take more risks in the return. I thought they were very cautious by their standards last night. how many of the famed 700+ passes were unpressured five yard passes across the park far away from the danger area? Is that really brilliant football?
    They have to be more aggressive and incisive in the return which they are very capable of.
    However taking risks will leave Chelsea more openings and they have shown that they can take advantage.
    Lots of possibilities for the return then. Barca are probably still favourites to go through but there is plenty for Chelsea to play for.
    Come on you Blues!

  • Comment number 24.

    @17 what was wrong with this posting as it has been removed?

  • Comment number 25.

    Lovely stuff last night. Aside from Drogba's performance it was one of the most fair and disciplined performances I've seen out of Chelsea. Surprised no-one's really discussing the Cahill push in the penalty area but either way, I'm happy, Chelsea has started on the right foot. Now to complete the whole dance. I would love nothing more than to see an English side in the final again. I know how much it annoys FIFA.

  • Comment number 26.

    Rangers held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in Glasgow in the Champions League ,recently , by playing 10 men behind the ball for 90 minutes, which prompted Guardiola, to describe the event, as "" non-football". Last night, the only difference, was Chelsea played with 9 men behind the ball for 90 minutes, however it was still NON-FOOTBALL

  • Comment number 27.

    decent blog, bit vague, perhaps more analysis is needed?

    I was at the game last night, and can a just say -what an atmosphere! To everyone who was in the Matthew harding & the Shed End and the rest of stamford bridge, we were the 12th man last night!

    We were 'lucky' in a sense, however when you look at it closely - bar the alexis sanchez opportunity, every barca shot, was either bocked, cleared or deflected by a chelsea player (mainly cahil, terry & cole). We defended like a proper team for the first time this season!


  • Comment number 28.

    .....'it would no doubt have been lauded as a defensive masterclass'.....

    Please! The only reason the game finished 1-0 to Chelsea was due to Barca's profligacy in front of goal. The scoreline could easily have been 3-1 or 4-1, in which case it would have described as anything but a defensive masterclass!

    Granted Barca can have another off day at camp Nou but common sense says a repeat performance will see Barca easily make the final on last night's evidence.

  • Comment number 29.

    Chelsea played fantastically well - the best I've seen them this season - but still needed to rely on two interventions of the woodwork and two missed sitters to come away with an advantage.

    They will need the same luck again - and probably more - to progress next week.

    Wouldn't rule it out, though.

  • Comment number 30.

    “The game is about putting the football in the goal. It is the most difficult thing in the game.”

    That's the key point. Guardiola summed it up well and took the defeat well, not talking about how Chelsea went all out to stifle them. I still think Barca will get the win they need, but then again i thought they would come away with a positive result last night, so anything can happen. The massive pitch at the Nou Camp will give Barca more space to play around Chelsea and I fear that the result last night will have p****d them off a bit so I'm fearing a backlash.

    I do find it ridiculous though how a team in the Semi-Final of the world's premier club competition, you could technically say one of the best 4 teams in the world, has to park a massive bus at the edge of their area to win the game. As a purist i hated watching Chelsea concede 72% possession and make 1/6th of the passes Barca did, it was mind numbing to watch at times, especially as I live in South East Asia and had to get up at 2:45am for the game,depriving myself of 2 hours sleep before work! I've got higher hopes for the return leg next week.

    I'd like to see Barca be a bit more direct at times. The Tiki-Taka's great to watch when it's working, but last night it almost looked as though they forgot they were getting beat.

    And Drogba. You know you're a disgrace when Busquets is lecturing you!

    I wish Chelsea luck next week, but ultimately I'm hoping for a Barca v Madrid final, even though that's got a 1-0 win for anti-football written all over it too!

  • Comment number 31.

    Nothing emabarsing about winning 1-0

  • Comment number 32.

    @22 - haha schoolboy! I still think that theirs is inexcusable!

  • Comment number 33.

    oh the irony, Drogba scoring in the time added on for HIS, play acting,
    wonder if Ashley Young was taking notes lol

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    to 29#

    United are you watching?

    ''rely on two interventions of the woodwork''

    the cross bar or post is not an intervention, its there to outline where the ball must go, if it hits it its not unlucky, i wouldnt even say its bad finishing, its just not in. End of!

  • Comment number 36.

    Reminds me of when Barcelona wasted all those chances to lose against Arsenal.

    Then gave them a proper thumping at the Camp Nou.

  • Comment number 37.

    I had a feeling we might just nick something, but we were lucky that Barcelona were not at their clinical best. Ashley Cole answered some of his critics, I don't care a jot about his private life but he is a big game player and one of the only England "stars" to perform at the world cup. Drogba is embarrassing yes, but the man is a legend - the sizzling spaniards that troll-patch likes to wax lyrical about were running scared. Full credit to RDM, AVB would never have got this far.

  • Comment number 38.

    Thought Chelsea did extremely well last night; energetic, organized and totally committed. Yes, they enjoyed some good fortune in terms of shots hitting the bar etc., but arguably a team's finishing tends to deteriorate the greater the pressure put on them. For Chelsea to progress, however, I do feel the away goal will indeed be crucial. The likelihood of Barca failing to score over another 90 minutes is probably on a par with my chances of scoring with Rihanna (and the restraining order makes that even more unlikely) If Chelsea could somehow fashion an early goal Barcelona need at least 3 to go through, which would require them to start taking risks and then who knows! But from this City fan at least, 'well done, Chelsea'.

  • Comment number 39.

    God Barcelona make it dull when they want to be. A win is a win and i'm happy to to see Barca get knocked off there perch, even though I think they'll get the result at the Nou camp.

    Drogba was perfect last night, you can say he did a bit of play acting but that's exactly what the whole Barcelona team does all the time so I have no problem with it. Also well done for Cahill for stepping it to such an occasion so well.

  • Comment number 40.

    you are out of your mind. if there was an ultimate 'simulation all stars'' it would be the barca team last night you simpleton.

    gerrard, terry, lampard, bale?
    please show me an example of simulation and i will give you £50. John terry play-act? the very thought makes me feel sick. He played with 2 cracked ribs recently, i suppose he is simulating, that hes fine!

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm going to be a bit controversial here: I don't believe Barcelona to be the best side in the world. The most successful of the moment for sure, but 'best'? I'm not sure I could stand watching a team week in, week out that plays constant offside at the back and insists on passing the ball into the net at the other. I find it a little dull. I guess it might just be a cultural thing. If FIFA was run by the Americans, they would have introduced a 'turnover on the tenth pass' rule by now.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 34 - Can't agree with Lampard or Terry for that matter. Where's Ashley Young in your team!? Gamst Pedersen and Torres are terrible for it too.

  • Comment number 43.

    fair play to Chelsea their defending was world class but they will be slaughtered at the Nou Camp just like Arsenal were. Letting them have 79% at stamford bridge is all good because of the pitch size but at the Nou Camp they will have to much space and will find Messi and Ineista far to often.

  • Comment number 44.

    The reality is that playing as Chelsea did might bring you momentary success, playing as Barca did bring you to the history book of winning teams. Two different ways to play, one to choose

  • Comment number 45.

    Great headline & clarifies what really matters.

    However, Chelsea were played off the park & Drogba needs a pillow for the length of time he spends on the ground. He conned the ref all game. I think Barca will score at least 5 goals in the replay. An incredible defensive perfomance but Chelsea still needed Lady Luck to be 100% behind them - which she was. If Chelsea go through, I`ll eat my hat (I now have a sachet of salt on my desk, just in case)

  • Comment number 46.

    @34 & 40

    Don't ask for examples as nearly every footballer has taken one dive at some point but you're right abour Batca. Their theatrics appall me at times.

    No idea why VDS is in simulation stars as the keeper??!! That is really odd, especially wshen you consider Doni against Celtic - possibly the most embarrassing thing i've ever seen!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    The referee for the game at the Camp Nou will have his work cut out trying to save this game for Barcelona, its easier when the first leg result is a nil-nil draw like the AC Milan game, expect penalties for Barcelona and cards handed out like confetti to Chelsea players. As for Drogba, he was playing Barca at their own game and they didn't like it. To see Sergio Biscuits moaning at the referee about Drogba was frankly laughable at best, at worst downright insulting. Good Luck to Chelsea I will always support an English club in Europe when my team isn't in the competition.

  • Comment number 48.

    14.At 08:43 19th apr. 2012, haywooddiablo wrote:
    Very pedantic of me, but in the summary on the main page it mentions 'posession' and not possession. Not very professional!! As for the article, I think it provides an accurate summary of the situation. Barcelona are clearly technically superior, however last night they weren't at the races and missed some guilt edge chances.

    At the risk of being called pedantic aswell, I think you'll find that the correct phrase is a "gilt edged chance", Haywooddiablo, in reference to the use og gold leaf - but your excuse will no doubt be that you are not a "proffesional" !!!!
    We're here to talk about football not try to score cheap points at the bloggers expense. Credit to Chelsea - they got the result against a team largely recognised as the best in Europe - lets hope they can finish the job now.

  • Comment number 49.

    Well played Chelsea.......though I do think it was as much a mix of luck and poor finishing to go with the resolute defending?!
    Parking the bus at home isnt for me.....but its the result that Chelsea fans will point to.
    As a neutral who watches Barca week in week out Id say that they may struggle next week ....depends on whether Mourinho sends out Real to kick em off the park as ususal at the weekend.
    The praise post game on itv for Drogba was cringeworthy.
    Think Chelsea will nick a goal away .......and not sure Barca will have 3 goals in them after a tough weekend game

  • Comment number 50.

    One shot one goal is the stat that matters!!!

    Phil, do you ever give a thought to the kids who watch games like this asking their daddy "daddy why isn't that blue team playing football like the other team, they get paid just as much don't they", yes son it's called anti football a style which should hopefully disappear in time.

    Didier diveba...... Need I say more? If only they chances fell to messi he would have stuck at least 3 away, this is the reason Chelsea won!

  • Comment number 51.

    Catenaccio Football Club.....

  • Comment number 52.

    Barca missed 3 or 4 absolute sitters and Cech made a few decent saves. If Chelsea park the bus at the Nou Camp they may get lucky again and squeeze through the tie. But if they let in one goal I fear the floodgates will open. I can't see them attempting any sort of counter attacking style in the away leg.

  • Comment number 53.

    This Soul Patch guy can come on these blogs and waffle on about the delights of Barcelona, Spanish football, the "average" state of the English Premier League while mesmerising us with his score predictions (I see he got last nights result wrong).....but who really cares about a guy who treats his Saturday & Sunday nights watching Spanish football like an expensive date???

    Chelsea rode their luck last night for sure, Barcelona dominated possession but it's the goal that counts in these type of games. The Nou Camp will be a lot more demanding and Chelsea's biggest test this season. However, if they score a goal (which maybe possible), then Barcelona need to score three. More importantly, Chelsea are in a far better position than Bayern are currently, against Real Madrid....with a huge league game for Barcelona on Saturday, the result of that game may bear a factor next week........

    The baffling thing for me is why Chelsea have never been able to play like this against the likes of Spurs, WBA & Fulham in recent weeks to help them get into the top four.

  • Comment number 54.

    It was a good performance by Chelsea and of course some luck along the way (everyone needs it every so often). Fabregas' prediction came true as well: 'we would dominate the ball, keep possession, create chances and then ... a counter-attack from Didier Drogba and goal.'

    Barca really don't seem to be able to deal with long balls confidently as every time a high ball came into their area there seemed to be wide spread panic. Hopefully more of the same to come at the Nou Camp.

  • Comment number 55.

    Always supported the english team when watching our teams in Europe......until last night, due to the antics of Drogba...... absolute disgrace to our premiership. Wanted to turn it off, it was so embarrasing

  • Comment number 56.

    #13 - ArsenalArseneArshavin

    Well Barça has Madrid visiting them on Saturday, which is a must win game as they are currently four points behind. Chelsea can afford to rest a few players as Chelsea has more chance of qualifying by winning the CL than by getting 4th.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Chelsea will have to produce all they did at Stamford Bridge and more besides" erm sorry Phil no they dont. They have to produce less than they did at Stamford Bridge as now they only need a draw.

    Anyway great performance by Chelsea, they actually closed the gaps through the centre really effectively and doubled up on the wings.

    Some last ditch defending probably got Chelsea fans' hearts racing but they looked as comfortable as you can playing Barca.

    Regardless of what people say about Drogba I thought he was excellent in disrupting play and took his goal well after a superb ball by Lampard to start the move

  • Comment number 58.

    @17. JohnC65, mate you sound like a robot, and the point you make is irrelevant! Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, saurez was stupid enough to admit to what he said because he was so ignorant he didn't even realise what he said was wrong! Get over it.

    As for the game, chelsea were superb, people forget that defending is an art too. Admittedly chelsea rode their luck and i dare say it will run out in the camp nou but lets not take anything away from last night. If you go toe to toe with barca you loose, simple as that, and we stuck to a plan and it paid off.

    On a more general note, Im getting so sick of this argument that because barca have all the ball and play stella football they have a divine right to win. They don't and Pep knows that, so respect to him. If that was the case, barca should just be given all the trophies at the begin of the season and let the rest scrap it out for second!

  • Comment number 59.

    Like UEFA will let Bayern or Chelsea win the second legs.

  • Comment number 60.

    i do agree with you slightly, however what is a team to do when it cant (doesnt have the players required) to play like barcelona?

    This clash in philosphies, styles etc... is what makes football great, on different days one triumphs over the other, as seen in past barca ties with chelsea, inter etc... sometimes the best way to win is defence, sometimes its not...

    I completely admire the way barca play football 90% of the time, and i was one of a few supporters there last night who clapped messi as he is still (despite an off game) pure genius. When barca play chelsea, they still pass it around very well, but for me are as dull lookign as us, just with more of the ball. we looking much more exciting hte brief moments we had on it. And when barca get challanged in a manner that doenst suit them, they begin to cry. Then they winge, moan, fall, dive, cheat because they are not having it there 'tika -taka' way. Playing as barca might in the 2nd leg (cheating, which they will) is no way to be in the history books.

    if chelsea win the CL, they will be remembered as one of the great CL sides, for different reasons!

  • Comment number 61.

    It doesn't matter what is said by anyone on here today about last nights game as the fact is this:

    Barcelona made more passes and had more possession blah blah blah, Chelsea scored more goals, and the last time I checked that is the whole purpose of football. It doesn't matter how you do it as long as that is the case at the end of the 90 minutes.

    I still believe Barcelona will win through at the Nou Camp by 3 goals or more but for now based on that 90 minutes we watched last night Chelsea deserve their lead.

    End :)

  • Comment number 62.

    well i for one was sick of drogba on the floor

    but congrats to chel ' park the bus ' sea

    but barcelona will no doubt advance at the nou camp as they actually play football

  • Comment number 63.

    Chelsea were excellent last night. It's interesting how Drogba's being criticised for his dramatics last night, when realistically it was a great part of Chelsea's game plan. We've not seen Drogba behave like that for a long time, JT talked it out of him years ago, but against Barca he did exactly what his team mates needed him to do; slow the game down.

    The defensive organistion and pressing was near perfect. JT was immense, Cole looked like the best left back in the world again, Cech was strong. I maybe enjoyed the victory that bit more due to past pains at the hands of the Catalans (Arsenal fan), but it seemed to me that Chelsea's game plan was spot on.

    One stat that is missing is how many interceptions and tackles Chelsea made. The possession stats make it look like Chelsea were battered but actually most of Barca's possession was frustrated and disjointed by the Blues' pressure. Messi was nowhere - see Lamps tackle and assist, and Iniesta got subbed.

    Well done Chelsea, and thank you; I won a tasty bet on 1-0 as well.

  • Comment number 64.

    The 2nd leg is now a 50/50 game. If Chelsea get an away goal, they are almost good for the final. If Barca get 2 early goals, then the finals will be calling.
    Drogba was brilliant yesterday, but i don see the pes and fans talking about his dramatic excellence. Surely he also got an A+ for that. Had this been Barca players fans alike will have had a merry go round. I just hope the reverse is not the case at the 2nd leg, cos i can just see the reaction of the chlsea players, fans and english press. If this should happen, i hope they would all recall Drogbas antics, and see it as fair play, cos for me that was what ruined lastnights game, and football has a way of payback. May the best team on the night win

  • Comment number 65.

    The fact Messi barely rated a mention in Phil's blog and in the comments so far speaks volumes for the job Chelsea did last night and the game plan RDM sent them out with.

    It wasn't anti-football, it was plain good tactics against opposition that they acknowledged to be superior in most positions.

    I still think Chelsea will struggle in the 2nd leg and Barca will use the much wider pitch at Camp Nou to stretch their defence and create the gaps they are famous for exploiting, but at least they go there with a fighting chance.

  • Comment number 66.

    OMG I've never seen a man get shot so many times and live, it's like watching the A Team! cue exploding helipcopter diving from the sky with passengers receiving only singed eyebrows! Chelsea really need to step up their searches, the amount of snipers in the stands

    Barcelona overplayed it, I wouldn't say Chelsea were superb, they were good, they were lucky.

    Lampard played a great ball to Ramires, but actually was most impressed with Ramires's cross, Drogba's finish was slightly fortuitous, it wasn't the cleanest contact.

  • Comment number 67.

    @55 - yes he was over the top and it overshadowed his great work and goal last night but if you want to really see some Oscar Winning performances on the diving front with the added feature of some players rolling about half a dozen times on the pitch while clutching their ankle with phantom pain, watch the "El Clasico" on's a Spanish art that invaded European Competition football a long time ago!

  • Comment number 68.

    - Odds on Chelsea win were 4/1, on Barca win 7/10!
    - Odds on Chelsea 1:0 win were 14:1, at par with Barca 3:0 win odds!
    - Top 6 shortest odds on scorer were all Barca players, with their midfielders and teenager players way ahead of Drogba, Chelsea's centre forward.

    These are just some numbers to show how Chelsea have been written off by so many; and underline just what a colossal effort Chelsea has done last night. Yes, Chelsea are still underdogs, they're unlikely to go to finals in Munich. However, this is the performance that will go down as one of the best nights for Chelsea fans.

  • Comment number 69.


    Or Lehmann and his circus act with Drogba.

  • Comment number 70.

    Di Matteo's got his tactics spot on. First tactic was to "rough up" Barcelona from the first minute and it wasn't just Drogba, Moreiles was doing his best too. This something Barcelona are not used to. Second tactic defend narrow and in numbers, this denied Barcelona space to play their natural game. Third tactic counter attack with pace. Dani Alves struggled defensively against Ramires and Cole with no protection from the midfielder in front of him. Fourth tactic use the height advantage at set pieces. Drogba, Cahill and Terry caused panic in the Barcelona defence especially from Ivanovic's long throws.

    Barcelona were the better team but their finishing was terrible. They clearly were not enjoying the night. Coupled with not getting their own way they had problems playing in the bad weather. In the first half I'm sure a few of the Barcelona players had the wrong studs on their boots for the conditions. Also to be fair Puyol and Busquets gave as good as the got.

    The job is half done and Barcelona have proved they can beat anyone and beat them well on in the Nou Camp. I think Chelsea will need an away goal to get to the final.

  • Comment number 71.

    Barca showed enough last night to suggest they can and will create more chances in the Nou Camp. Yes Chelsea defended well, their concentration was pretty good for 90mins and for all Drogbas rolling around he scored a good goal and was a threat. But you gotta think it was an off night for Barca in front of goal, Sanchez should have scored twice, Fabregas practically missed an open goal as well as having one off the line and right at the end Busquets missed a great chance as well although more difficult than the Fabregas open goal. The game in the nou camp on the bigger pitch will be twice as difficult and I just cant see Chelsea holding out, but I can definitely see them scoring and 2 1 loss takes them through to the final. It will be embarassing if Chelsea win the Champions League so lets all pray they dont.

  • Comment number 72.

    ''anti football'' grow up you barca bagering arsenal fan (probably).

    Should we just go and attack barca like madrid last season and get stuffed 5-0?
    or go for it like united and lose 3-1?
    maybe do an arsenal and play football and loose 4-0?
    or maybe just play our average open game and get stuffed 7-1 like leverkuson did??

    If you want to beat barca, you must acknowledge they are better than you and that you cannot play them at yuor own game - unless you want to get stuffed 6-0!

    inter did it, and won the cl that season, united did in in '08 and beat them...won the CL that season.

    GET A GRIP and come back with a more substantiol comment!

  • Comment number 73.

    At 09:07 19th Apr 2012, theyoungun wrote:

    "Chelsea will have to produce all they did at Stamford Bridge and more besides" erm sorry Phil no they dont. They have to produce less than they did at Stamford Bridge as now they only need a draw.


    Oh come on. You think if they play like that again - away from home - they'll get a draw? As I've pointed out, they had to rely on missed sitters and struck woodwork. Unlikely things will fall for them like that again in the Nou Camp, and Barca will have the crowd (and probably the ref) with them for 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 74.

    Barca may feel hard done by, but last night just proves how ineffective their borign game can be. Barca keep possession at all times and walk it down the field but Chelsea know that you don't have to bother to take it off them - they rarely had an end product, considering the possession they were allowed. Barca have been found out, they can pass a ball sideways and backwards but they just rely on teams getting out of shape, which personally I find unbelievably boring to watch.

  • Comment number 75.

    @72.....absolutely spot on......I can guarantee that if Jose Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea last night, he would have used similar tactics - similar tactics to his Inter Milan team.....the bottom line is, Chelsea do not have the players or the technical quality that Barcelona have so to attempt to try and take the game to Barcelona is suicide.
    Chelsea are a weaker team in all departments compared to 3 years ago while Barcelona have improved in that time considerably....that is why the result last night is even more remarkable and should be acknowledged....

  • Comment number 76.

    Barca may have had 72% of the possession but 95% of that was passing it from side to side in front of Chelsea while every route forwards was blocked off. If you read the Times then the FinkTank says possession is not something they look at when determining the outcome of the game. Apparently the amount of possession and the result simply have no correlation.

    I could not be more proud of my team. The discipline and determination were unparalleled. Those saying Chelsea didn't play football obviously don't appreciate the art of defence, and it is an art form. Obviously I'm biased but I thought Barca's flicks, short passing game and possession were completely overshadowed by one of the best defensive performances I have seen.

    Drogba was at his preening sulking best. You know when he throws himself to the ground that he is up for it! He was and he caused the Barcelona defence problems all night, not to mention a couple of crucial defensive interventions.

    As an Arsenal mate texted though "Expect a dodgy ref and lots of diving given as fouls next week". Barca are undoubtedly the best club team in the world right now, but when the chips are down some of their theatrics are worse than anything I've ever seen. We saw a few hints of things to come from Busquets last night and I expect to see a lot more if the match isn't going their way at the Nou Camp. In that situation you need Drogba giving as good as you get.

    I don't think any Chelsea fan thinks we are through. I would still put us as the underdogs but there is an air of very very cautious optimism now. No-one gave us a chance and hopefully they still don't as that is when we are at our best. The advantage is as slender as it could be and there is a hell of a lot of hard work still to be done. People are talking about an early away goal, personally I'd rather have a late one in similar fashion to Iniesta's late sucker punch in that controversy drenched second leg semi final several years ago.

  • Comment number 77.

    For the first time this season I thought Ashley Cole was superb, he seems to have lost a yard and some will but couldn't fault him last night! They may not be the best team but they are playing for RDM....interesting trip to Barca, in the balance

  • Comment number 78.

    Not a lot to say really. Chelsea did what they had to do and rode their luck. Tactically they were 90% spot on......... Shut up Rooney if Drogba should stay on his feet then you should stay off your armchair.

  • Comment number 79.

    Say what you like about the characters of John Terry, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba but all were outstanding last night.

    Probably the only time in my life I will support Chelsea in a game (other than the second leg) and no doubt they rode their luck at times, however a 1-0 win at home is an excellent result.

    As an aside, thank-you to Chelsea for letting me watch a Barcelona game without the commentators climaxing every time Messi touched the ball. What I will say for Messi though is that it was good to see a player darting into the penalty area with the intention of scoring instead of winning a penalty (which he perhaps could have done a couple of times, notably the early Lampard challenge).

    Looking forward to the second leg.

  • Comment number 80.

    Love all these comments by people saying Chelsea shouldnt have played so negatively. It's competitive football, not the Harlem Globetrotters!

    And anyway, isnt it up to (in this case) Barcelona to develop a "Plan B" to beat sides who line up a packed defence against them? It's not exactly a fiendish new tactic.

    How about having someone who can cross the ball and any attacker or midfielder who has a hope of heading it in? At times watching Barcelona I feel they should turn down corners as they just take up time, whereas a goal kick would likely get the ball back to them where they want it quicker.

    I'm a Sunderland fan so I'm used to having to defend my team for working hard, not allowing the opposition to play the way they want and trying to get the best result we can, the best way we can.

  • Comment number 81.

    A great performance by Chelsea.

    And this whole one shot, one goal thing is a little misleading. You compare Chelsea's shots on target to Barca's shots in total.

    I thought the tactics were spot on. If you watch how tight the chelsea players get it varies wherever they are on the pitch. So yea, allow Xavi and Busquets space in the middle, get a bit tighter to Iniesta and Fabregas and others in the next area up the pitch, and when it gets to the front line, whichever of the Barca players might be there, that's when the quick, early tackles were made before the player could settle.

    How many times did a Chelsea player go in too early for his tackle? Meireles did a few times, and Mikel once, but aside from that Chelsea kept their concentration and made countless correct decisions.

    Also, was I the only person watching who noticed that Barca were terrified of every Chelsea set-piece? Last time I checked, even though Barca are the best footballing side in the world, set-pieces are still a major aspect of the game of football and they have to defend them which they really struggled with last night.

    Finally for all the incrimination of Drogba and his diving and play acting, he got under Barca's skin and infact persuaded them out of following suit. I barely remember any instances of Busquets and co. rolling on the floor after Drogba had done his bit. Now compare that to the 1st 20 mins and they were rolling around everywhere.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 79

    Too true, sometimes I'm glad I can't see the commentators when Messi is on the ball, a sight for sore eyes I would imagine!

  • Comment number 83.

    Great show Chelsea. Bit of luck here and there but the defensive play was fantastic. Go and finish it now and knock the haughty, preening Barca out. Theyre due some dissapointment and football generally needs to see them defeated. Be careful though, the forces that be from within UEFA will be lining up against you as well as Barcelona next week so your absolute discipline is needed again otherwise you ll be playing with 10 men before you can blink. Good luck!

  • Comment number 84.

    I wonder whether Mata, great player that he is, should have started. The kind of game Chelsea played last night didn't suit him as they never had the ball. Sturridge seems out of favour but his pace could unsettle Barcelona next week.

  • Comment number 85.

    Congratulations to Chelsea.

    I've just about had enough of people bashing the English game and saying how useless it is. Cesc Fabegras ridiculed Chelsea's long ball tactic. Now I'm not a fan of this tactic, but a team has to play the opposition that is put in front of them.

    If anyone was a manager of a club that was playing against Barcelona and had the resources Chelsea have, or even Stoke City for that matter, you'll play to your strengths and stay organised, muscle Barcelona around and make the most of the height advantage. All of the Barcelona line up and the subs that came on (except for Puyol, Valdes and Busquets) are tall enough to be arm-rests for Chelsea's team. Which leads me to the next point.....

    The Camp Nou is a big pitch, with losts of space to play on, where as Stamford Bridge is narrow. Barcelona's full backs are supposed to give them width, but its pretty useless when the opposition defence is so tall and there is no one giving the defence something to think about with movement inside the box or when the ball is in Barca's half. Barca may play an attractive game, but at times its like watching paint dry when they think its best to go through the middle of the defence. Arjen Robben does the same for Bayern Munich when he plays on the left. A complete team should really be able to mix up their game and have a plan B. Messi is a great player, but to me he still hasn't proved anything. He has the ability to dribble past people, yet he'll try and go through a crowd of players and not go wide and try one on one with the Chelsea full backs. That would have made the pitch bigger and with a few crosses in, they could have had a goal or more. Being patient on the ball is great to not lose the ball, but not being able to mix up the game is really annoying.

    Cesc is the one that looks a little silly at the moment. Chelsea converted their chance, Barca didn't. That is all that matters. Same thing when England beat Spain.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well played Chelsea you were like cholesterol blocking the flow of Barca blood!! It was a very Italian performance, if they now go to the Nou Camp and play with this kind of spirit and desire, who cares if they lose? They will have found what increasingly looks like a top class manager. There was an element of desperation towards the end for Barca, the relentless passing game did not work and they can't use width and wingers in the way Bayern did the other night. The problem is in most games the pressure delivers, the first 20 in the Nou Camp is going to be terrifying. Thought Fabregas was incredibly arrogant when he tried to slide the ball into the net instead of hitting it properly, that could prove to be a costly miss. Great game, painful to watch as a LFC fan knowing we were involved in these types of games up until a few years ago.

  • Comment number 87.

    mourinho may have to swallow his own medicine because on the first leg alone it looks like he was right for all the worng reasons, so yes mourinho there may not be a chelsea reunion but it sure as hell looks like they will make the final on the performance they gave, but the nou camp is a 12th man and the width of the pitch will not suit the cfc defense!

  • Comment number 88.

    Can I just add that JT gave me the highlight of the game last night, did you see him ask Puyol about his wrist injury? When Puyol put out his arm to show him, JT gave it a bit of a squeeze.. LMAO, legend.

  • Comment number 89.

    Well done to Chelsea, rode their luck at times, but put the ball in the back of the net. I also thought Lampard's part in the goal was pure class and hasn't been mentioned enough. Barcelona didn't play at their usual pace, and that was down to Chelsea, well done.
    Barcelona are the best in the world at how they play. You cannot match them by playing an open attacking game, they will destroy you. I was lucky enough to watch them put 8 past Osasuna at the nou camp this season (Messi scored a hat trick).

    Chelsea played the only way they had a hope of getting a result, parking the bus in front of the goal and nicking a goal on the break. It might not have been a flashy performance, but in the end the record books will show 1-0 Chelsea, and if they end up winning the trophy nobody will talk about how lucky they were or how negative they played, rather how they swept aside the "great" Barcelona side of our time on their way to glory. Good luck to them, but not in the FA Cup :) (a Liverpool fan)

  • Comment number 90.

    Well done to the Blues last night we got a lot of luck but I think the tactics were spot on. A lot of people on here complaining about us parking the bus in front of the goal as if its something new. Has everyone forgotten when United played Barca in 2008? Pretty much parked the bus for 2 legs and Scholsey's brilliant strike took them through. That was SAF's tactics and he is regarded as one of the best managers of all time.

    In response to those saying that football is all about scoring and passing etc. Im guessing they have never played football before and if they did they were quite obviously a centre forward!

  • Comment number 91.

    So in my opinion the English players last night shone, in fact the Spanish players weren't to shabby either, but it was a English team that won.

    Now hypothetically if this was England vs. Spain, i know for fact those same English players would not play anywhere near as well for their country as they did for Chelsea last night.

    And it doesn't end with Chelsea, all our "big" club English players fail to turn in those kinds of performances when they play for England. Why?

    The Euros are round the corner. Based on last night's display i would love Chelsea's defensive trio to start for England, but would i see the same herioc defending? i doubt it, i haven't before.

    I am no Chelsea fan but this was a positive result for an English club so i commend them, i just wish England could grind out a result like that against an opposition like Barca (i.e. Spain)!

  • Comment number 92.

    I know Chelsea won and that is the only statistic that matters. drogba showed his good side and his pathetic side rolling around feigning injury every 2 minutes. I like how all teams play football and whatever works for your team play that style ala stoke or barca. He was not a good advert for any game especially a semi

  • Comment number 93.

    A team like Chelsea should be embarressed playing a euro semi like that, 11 men behind the ball!!! Even the little girl Drogba was defending, when he was on his feet.
    When Rangers played like that it was called anti football but being an English team it was a heroic performance. Enjoy it, it will be over next week.

  • Comment number 94.

    Wow! Its a little early in the morning to be confronted with such idiocy!

    Barca are the best side in the world at retaining posession and attacking, so why would you try and match them at their own game. Its like Flloyd Mayweather going toe to toe with Mike Tyson!!

    Chelsea had to play this game smart and make it as tough as possible for Barca, that they did for the first leg and good on them I say. If Chelsea get to the final then the end will totally jusitfy the means!

    Football is all about results, I would be much happier to see my team win a game ugly then lose playing beautiful football.

  • Comment number 95.

    Who thinks Chelsea can beat barcelona at the nou camp??

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    Not in terms of sportsmanship, spirit of the game or entertainment but Drogba s performance last night was awesome. That includes the rolling on the floor designed to disrupt this brilliant Barca team. Everything was about winning and win they did.

    Drogba on his current form is unplayable but can he keep it going for just 90 more minutes? I hope so even though I'm a Liverpool fan.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am not saying to play beautiful football, but at least PLAY football.

  • Comment number 99.


    Pep Guardiola called it anti football and he is Spanish

  • Comment number 100.

    As you are such an expert, what tactics would you have employed against Barcelona then to avoid conceding an away goal for the 2nd leg and also avoid a goal battering (which many pundits predicted before the match)


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