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Barca 0-0 Chelsea: Victory For Anti-Football


I don’t know whether to congratulate Chelsea for deactivating the explosive Barcelona attack. Or chastise them for playing a very negative, defensive brand of football that has nothing to do with the reasons why we call this the beautiful game.

The reality is that if Chelsea played their usual brand of attacking football, they would have been torn apart by the attacking prowess of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o.

The hope is that on their return leg at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will decide to play football. My concern is that they’ll play a defensive style — not as anti-football as their Camp Nou performance — and try to hang on for that solitary goal or for penalties. Don’t expect a classic in west London.

It’s no wonder that most football fans are hoping for a Barcelona against Arsenal or Manchester United final.

Other than a couple of chances for Didier Drogba in front of goal, this was a dire match from Chelsea who were playing very negative football to stifle the Barcelona attack. The strategy worked flawlessly. With Chelsea’s aggressive tactics, they definitely outmuscled Barcelona and were lucky to have no players red-carded.

The advantage now must go to Chelsea to win the second leg of the semi-final. Unfortunately, most of the neutral soccer fans around the world won’t be hoping they’ll win. Otherwise, we may see another negative performance from Chelsea in the final, as they produced last year in Moscow.

A few observations about last night’s game:

  • The concussion that Henry experienced after he was hit in the head by Alex took the French striker out of the game. Other than a half chance in front of goal, he was completely invisible for the remainder of the match.
  • Lionel Messi was a shadow of himself and was marked out of the game. He produced a similar performance in the Champions League two years ago when Liverpool reduced him to a minor actor in the game.
  • Dani Alves would not fit into the English game. His theatrics after he was fouled were despicable and exaggerated.
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  1. Sockyboii

    April 30, 2009 at 3:11 am

    i think it was a good game….there are world class players on both teams, each of them had there own tactics and made them work for their results. chelsea’s tactics were 2 shut down barca’s key players (mainly the forwad pack) and they did this effectivly. i am a barca fan and have been so for many yrs…it was probs not 1 of their best games but i believe they were outplayed because of chelseas tactics. maby if ronaldinho had stayed with barca 4 this match…..who knows it could have made the difference….
    barca to win 2-0 next game if the strat boys get thier acts together if no, baca 2 win on pens cos no offence 2 cech but he’s got no hope against a barca offence

  2. mk

    April 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    ohhh jodi, poor ppl payed for tickets?who are you??mother Theresa?

    even if it ended nil nil,..great game packed with loads of action and uncertainty s!

    what if all those poor, starving people witnessed a 5-0 trashing hu? would that put food on their plates?

    exactly, NO! so quit your whining!

  3. mk

    April 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    jodi. whats ur problem?not a football fan because i complain about how the media (and/incl. bloggers) keep writing about barca and their “so gifted” team?annoying man, ANNOYING stuff!

    i wouldnt even have to reply to your retarded (oh yea, i said RETARDED) comment. who the fukk are you to judge me?!

    get your own hobby u (most probably) fat piece of sh1t, stop hating on random people who just mention opinions. eat your chips and die of cholesterol, B1TCH!

    fukk u, b1tch!

  4. Jodi

    April 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    And MK you are not a football fan talking like that you are just someone who uses a football team as an excuse to shout nothing and a simpletons remarks you should find a hobby Inbread Fool

  5. Jodi

    April 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Chelsea admitted they were technicaly infior by this performance and barca had chances so if there game plan was not to allow barca chances they failed many poor people payed allot to watch chelsea and they were let down i also thought chelsea’s rough tactics were shamefull. a team who aims for nil nils are not worthy for such a glorious trophy its a trophy for the brave.
    this will be my final season watching chelsea

  6. hank

    April 29, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Spot on.

    You can’t really fault Chelsea for parking the bus in front of their goal and waiting on the 90 minutes – it was effective, and got them a good result – but, I don’t think its a performance they should be particularly proud of. Reminded me of the Italy-Spain match-up from Euro 2008, with Italy playing for penalties from the opening whistle.

  7. mk

    April 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    bullsh1t article!
    pedro and phil: i have to totally agree with you guys!

    barca is overrated, having many decent chances and not even coming close on all of them. heck, the game s best chance has to have been the drogba incident!

    i hate people nowadays going on and on about the world s best club blabla. sure they may dominate their national league…but la liga clubs are generally sh1t!look at the spanish teams performances in the last 2 years in europe:
    any club (except barca) in the semis of u cl/cup?NOPE!
    it doesn t make you the worlds best club just because you trashed bayern (look at them, only world class player is franky-boy) or any other sh1t team. being the worlds best club means that you have to perform when it all comes down to it and you face a real opponent. did barca succeed against chelski?NOPE.
    fukk barca!

  8. Fer

    April 29, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Chelsea performance was despicable. One thing is to use a defensive tactic to hold off the offensive team, another is to use constant fouls to break the rhythm of the offense. (Repetitive fouls should account for a card; hence the comment about being forgiven some red cards). I hope Chelsea goes down and we have an Arsenal Barça game for the final. Teams that actually want to play football.
    As for Alvez theatrics, what about Drogba’s. Too bad they didn’t score while he was on the floor pretending to be injured.

  9. Sean Atkinson

    April 29, 2009 at 9:30 am

    If I was Chelsea, I would do the exact same thing at Stamford Bridge and try to nick a goal via a set-piece or route one football because Barcelona cannot compete with them in the air.

    Call it anti-football if you want but, I doubt Chelsea and their supporters will care very much if it means that by playing anti-football they get back into the Champions League final.

  10. Pedro

    April 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Yes, Chelsea should have gone to The Camp Nou and allowed Barca’ to take full advantage of being at home and rolled over for them. On the other hand Chelsea played the classic (in Europe) go away stop the opposition and beat them at home tactic. If Barca are so good even they would have over come this tactic…but they didn’t.

    Anyway it is far from over and Barca could easily come and destroy Chelsea at home just like Chelsea did to Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the competition.

  11. FFCJon

    April 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Terrible article.

    Anti Football?? There is no such thing. Chelsea stopped Barca scoring which was the entire point of their game. fantastic to watch two brilliant teams playing two different styles, this is what the champions league is about. 4-4 is not a football result, the best teams in the world don’t conceed 4 goals a game, sunday league teams shouldn’t conceed 4.

    Chelsea played with two banks of 4 and malouda on the left holding alves back. this stopped balls coming through midfield or the right back into messi. the formation was designed to stop one man, it worked and instead of saying “Messi was a shadow of himself and was marked out of the game” perhaps ask why they didn’t mount more of an attack from the left.

    I’d also disagree with the comment about chelsea being lucky to avoid a red card. i can’t think of a reason why they should, ballack had a few mistimed tackles but that was it.

    I’m a Fulham fan so it pains me to say it but i thought chelsea got it correct yesterday.

  12. Blue

    April 29, 2009 at 8:52 am

    The Gaffer – Twat!

  13. Phil McThomas

    April 29, 2009 at 8:35 am

    “Dani Alves would not fit into the English game. His theatrics after he was fouled were despicable and exaggerated. ”

    Yep, him and Cristiano Ronaldo will never make it in England.

  14. Jaime

    April 29, 2009 at 8:33 am

    If it does go to penalties I dont think Chelsea will make it. Cech is not good with spot kicks and, depending on who takes them, theyre not very good scoring from the spot either. I think with the likes of Henry, Messi, Etoo, Alves, and Iniesta Barca have the advantage from the spot. Dunno how good Valdes is though. I just feel that if Chelsea open up to attack they will leave holes Barca will exploit.

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