When Chelsea’s name was drawn out of the hat to face Barcelona in the Champions League, Blues fans must have let out a deep sigh of resignation.
When Chelsea’s name was drawn out of the hat to face Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, Blues fans must have let out a deep sigh of resignation.
It was Barca that controversially knocked out Chelsea in the 2008/09 semis when Iniesta scored deep into stoppage time after an error riddled performance from referee Tom Henning Ovrebo ended the West London club’s European dream.
The mind wanders back to Ballack near harassing the Danish official after another dodgy decision went against the English side, and Drogba’s expletive strewn rant as he lost it at the final whistle.
Now one cannot defend the Chelsea fans who sent hate mail and death threats to the ref after the game, but even he must look back at the fixture and realise mistakes were made from his performance.
Add to the mix Barca’s defeat of Chelsea in the first knockout round in 2005/06, as they were beginning to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with under Jose Mourinho, and you being to understand the bad blood felt from the Londoners end.
The Spanish side have good form against other Premier League clubs too, having overcome United in last season’s final and knocking out Arsenal in back-to-back tournaments.
It is no surprise that Chelsea fans were jumping for joy when it was announced they were set to face the Catalan conquerors once again.
But hang on, Chelsea now travel to the Nou Camp for the second leg of their battle with a one goal lead and a clean sheet to boot. If they score in Barcelona, the La Liga giants need three, courtesy of the strange regulations of the ‘away goals rule’.
Di Matteo said before Wednesday’s game at Stamford Bridge that Chelsea needed ‘two perfect games’ to go through. Whilst the 1-0 win may have been far from flawless, the away side will do well to replicate a similar performance next week.
It is almost unthinkable to accept that on their own turf, Chelsea conceeded 70% of possession to Barcelona. But that is what the La Liga champions do in most instances, dominate you across the pitch.
Barcelona manages a staggering 25 shots and 15 on target to Chelsea’s abysmal four efforts and just two on target. Barca outnumbered their opponents eight to one in corners. But the only lasting statistic of any real importance went to the home side, one goal for Drogba.
Guardiola may be trying to remove the pressure from his side by saying Chelsea are now the favourites, but I think we all know that Barca are more than capable of knocking a few past this Blues side back on their home soil.
But Chelsea have done what few would have expected going into this two-legger, and given themselves half a chance to reach the final. Blue may just be the colour on the Champions League this season.