Hiddink Is Right To Fear Barcelona, Not Just Messi

How do you stop the best player in the world, Lionel Messi will probably be keeping Guus Hiddink awake tonight as he prepares for his stiffest test yet as Chelsea’s interim manager. Whilst I appreciate the bravado that Hiddink is giving in regards to his own players, he is right to dampen down the furore over just concentrating on the supreme Argentine magician. He knows that Barcelona are the best side in Europe right now, by a country mile and to focus all their energies on Messi will see Chelsea fall straight in to Guardiola’s trap. The loss of Ashley Cole is a major problem, without another left back in the squad means the balance of the Blues will be off kilter. Dealing with that lack of balance will be Hiddink’s major concern.

Sometimes, I’m not sure people actually watch European football before commenting on it, if anyone thinks that Barcelona are a one man team, then they need their eyes testing. Of course, Messi is in phenomenal form this season, continuing on the excellent season he had for club and country in 2007-2008 and proving finally that Argentina can produce a player to cope with the tag of being “The Next Maradona”. 34 goals in 45 games for Barcelona plus 5 for Argentina is a phenomenal record, simply mind blowing.

Yet, this is a Barcelona side rescued from the indignity of underachievement through Frank Rijkaard’s last two seasons and their are several factors for this. Firstly, Daniel Alves’ signing was a masterstroke, in another season he’d be favourite for the World Player Of The Year and Chelsea and Liverpool must be kicking themselves after watching his performances this year. Thierry Henry’s second season has shown him return to form after a season of transition, with 24 goals so far and now forms part of Europe’s most famous attacking trio with Eto’o and Messi. Eto’o has also been reborn this season, with 32 goals this season.

Yet, Barca’s side oozes quality throughout but it’s the back line where perhaps Chelsea may profit, with Puyol still struggling, Marquez and Pique join Alves and Abidal in front of Victor Valdes. Now Valdes perhaps gets a little more stick than he deserves, of course he’s not one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, but he’s probably the most underated. The midfield of Xavi, Iniesta and Toure shouldn’t be underestimated at all. Toure adds the steel to the silk that Xavi and Iniesta provide and the ammunition they create has seen the strikers at Barca score 90 goals between them so far in all competitions. A staggering amount under any circumstances.

The British media seem to feel that if you stop Messi, you stop Barcelona, but that simply smacks of jingoism of the highest order. This is a side that could rule Europe for the the next 3 or 4 seasons if they strengthen the back line and tonight is the beginning of a three game period that could define Barca’s season. Hiddink knows that Chelsea are about to face their sternest test in any competition this season and if they can achieve any positive result tonight, it will be his biggest achievement so far in his short tenure at Stamford Bridge.

The general feeling from the British pundits is that Chelsea will have too much for Barcelona, but Hiddink will be instilling in his players in the dressing room that to believe their own hype is the basis for them to come away from the Camp Nou with a kicking. Even a 1-0 defeat will be viewed as a great result so for the Blues to get anything else will be an astounding result. Let’s hope it lives up to the build up and Chelsea fans will be hoping that Hiddink has their team switched on to concentrate on Barcelona and not just Lionel Messi.

10 thoughts on “Hiddink Is Right To Fear Barcelona, Not Just Messi”

  1. man,…
    i just finished reading your first sentence and already i have to comment on this article: messi?best player in the world?
    excuse me for asking but..did u at all get a glimpse of the worlds best player a couple of weeks ago?..i m referring to this lad who scored a 36.5 meter wonder strike against some Portuguese club…hint hint!!
    …in his own words, the 3 greatest players today:
    1. c.ronaldo
    2. c.ronaldo

  2. hindsight 20/20 so on and so forth.. messi took an early shower it appeared to me. he got a touch around the 80th min and i realized i hadnt heard his name in 30 minutes

  3. Well there goes your best player in the world.

    The Catalanian “giants” are over rated they cant put a goal past a team that is thousands of miles away from home and suffering from injuries.

    Chelsea still isn’t in the form they were last year and you can see that with them letting 4 goals past with Liverpool or being picked apart by both United and Liverpool earlier in the season.

    In hindsight I think Barcelona got exposed for what they are, a fairly good team in a league that is full of bad ones. Their nothing particularly special though when their playing against a fairly competent team.

    We’ve seen what Chelsea are capable of this year while their handicapped. Their still not last seasons Chelsea yet the “worlds best team” cant put a single goal past them and arguably the best opportunity goes to a Chelsea man.

    Now the ball is in Chelseas court having subdued the so called best player in the world and the so called best team in the world.

    Like I said a few weeks ago I think Chelsea will win it. The only real question is which Chelsea will show up.

    Chelsea have lost by a handful of goals to competent teams in the past but if they can produce football of the quality they had last season theyll end the hype train once and for all.

  4. West Ham on Saturday had more chances then Barca today…

    Barca spent the entire match falling on the floor, and as a person who dislikes Chelsea that takes alot to say.

    It was like a battle of who could win a free kick, then do nothing with it.

    Looks like yet another all English final, book your easy jet ticket now to Rome!

  5. Did the author of this article “actually watch European football before commenting” himself? And guess what, watching highlights of El Classico doesn’t count. Tonight’s game only went further to show that La Liga is just not that competitive a league. If Messi ever, I don’t know, scores a goal against an EPL opponent or does something against an opponent better than Getafe, then maybe you can start to think of him as best player in the world. And as for Alves being player of the year? The only thing he should be winning is the olympic gold for diving.

  6. Let’s be honest here: Chelsea only tied because Petr Cech made multiple incredible saves and Guus Hiddink offered a masterclass in defensive football. Chelsea played four center midfielders, one attacking midfielder and one striker. It worked out well for Chelsea, but they can’t do that at Stamford Bridge. Reading the comments one would think Chelsea will waltz through the second leg, but I seriously doubt this will happen. I expect a tough game, decided by one goal.

  7. A 0-0 at home is great for Barca because they no longer have to force the win. And if the match goes into ET they get an extra 30 mins to score the away goal. BTW Lampard left the match at about 70ish mins: was he injured ?

  8. I love to see now all these arrogant EPL fans eat their words now.

    Yes, Chelsea was the toughest team we faced last season, and we went lucky at the end.

    Força Barça

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