Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for TV schedules, news and more »

SAT, 7:45AM ET
MCFC3
CPFC0
SAT, 9:30AM ET
WER2
BVB1
SAT, 10AM ET
AVFC1
MUFC1
SAT, 10AM ET
BAR5
COR0
SAT, 10AM ET
TOT2
BUR1
SAT, 10AM ET
SOU3
EVE0

Chelsea Faces Mission Impossible Against Barcelona in Champions League Semi-Final

mission impossible Chelsea Faces Mission Impossible Against Barcelona in Champions League Semi Final

Chelsea’s win Wednesday night against Benfica in the UEFA Champions League was a victory for the club, Roberto Di Matteo, the Premier League and England. So much was riding on the line. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t impressive, but Chelsea held on for a win against all odds — especially given the forgettable season they’ve had under the management of Andre Villas-Boas.

If Chelsea’s Champions League run ends in the semi-final with a loss against Barcelona, the club will have nothing to be ashamed of. Even if they were able to beat Barcelona, an almost impossible feat, they would face either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final — two teams who are equally capable of crushing Chelsea. Let’s be honest. Chelsea is playing remarkably better than they were just several weeks ago under Andre Villas-Boas, but this Chelsea squad — even if the team was firing on all cylinders — is not in the same league as a Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

Having said that, Barcelona looked vulnerable against AC Milan. The Barcelona defense were particularly weak whenever Milan got in behind the flat-footed back four especially when a first-time ball was crossed back into the box from the by-line. In recent games, Fernando Torres has been dangerous when he’s been cutting in from the right wing, into the penalty box. If Torres can play to his best abilities, the Spaniard may be able to unlock Barcelona down the right side. On the other side of the pitch, Kalou offers little threat down the left wing. Maybe moving Mata back to the left could work?

Despite Barcelona’s vulnerabilities, trying to defeat the Spanish side is out of reach for Chelsea, in my opinion. The Blues will be helped by having the first leg of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge where, if they’re lucky, they may be able to keep Barcelona to a draw. But to go to Camp Nou and expect anything other than a convincing defeat is unrealistic.

No matter what happens, Di Matteo has transformed this side and deserves to be given the role of manager on a permanent basis. The Italian has reinvigorated this side by bringing back the veterans (Lampard, Drogba, Essien and Kalou), improving team morale, and helping the team get back to winning ways. He deserves to be given the chance to make changes in the summer transfer window and to rebuild this Chelsea squad slowly, but surely instead of the helter-skelter ride that Villas-Boas had them on.

What do you think? Can Chelsea beat Barcelona? If so, how? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


This entry was posted in Chelsea, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →