After an indecisive 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg, all eyes will turn to SW6, where Chelsea and Barcelona will meet again for the second leg of the Champions League. With Manchester United awaiting the winner, having dispatched Arsenal at the Emirates, the stakes are high for this meeting.In the first leg, Guus Hiddink pronounced that Chelsea would look to attack. However, Barcelona’s quality of possession made it difficult to attack and forced Chelsea to defend. The Blues did well to repel the Barcelona attack and leave the Camp Nou on level terms. Now with a smaller pitch and the home support, Chelsea will look to book their trip to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for their revenge match with United for the Champions League trophy.
Keys For Chelsea:
I personally don’t believe that we ever set out to park the bus at the Camp Nou. But after watching Barcelona dismantle Real Madrid, it was clear that was our best option if we had any chance of winning the tie. Real set out to play football with Barcelona and got taken apart. That seems to be the trend for any team that tries to play better football against Barcelona, so we did what we had to do.
This time, I think it will be a different scenario. Barcelona has never really traveled well to England in European competition, especially Stamford Bridge. The last time Barcelona won at the Bridge was in 2006. That match would see Del Horno sent off in the 37′ and Barcelona win 2-1 against 10 men.
Part of what makes it hard for them in England is the quality of the pitch, especially at the Bridge. It has improved, but the pitch still favors our style of direct play and isn’t always conducive to the quick passes that Barcelona like to play.
I also think that Hiddink has prepared well for every scenario on Wednesday. We played a very organized defense last time out, but on the weekend played with Drogba and Anelka as a strike pair, seeing Anelka playing off Drogba as a second striker. I think that tactic will be an option, only if we need to chase a goal. Otherwise, I don’t see us playing open for 90 mins.
Barcelona will always be dangerous, but I think that we can take advantage of the fact that Barcelona will be missing two of their top CB’s. Pique and Abidal in the center should be overtaken easily if Drogba and Anelka are together, making that the key matchup.
Barcelona will know that one goal is plenty and will also know about Chelsea’s terrible record in penalty shootouts. One goal will force Chelsea to open up and score two goals, allowing them to go for more. We have to score first and hope that Barcelona go into a shell.
Either way, it should be a good match on Wednesday. The match will more than likely be close and cagey like the first leg. We also must be motivated by the fact that a rematch with United in Rome is on the horizon and that we must take care of business at home to make sure that happens.