XI Conclusions: Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea

Chris Wright

25th, April 2012

28 Comments

By Chris Wright

1. First of all, well done Chelsea. I think the word ‘phenomenal’ just about covers your performances over the two legs. Defending is just as integral a part of the game as attacking and, for all Barca’s captivating intricacy in and around the area, Chelsea’s heroic flat back nine emerged the victors. It truly was the stuff of footballing fairytale.

2. Gary Neville summed up the elation of an entire nation when greeting Chelsea left-back Fernando Torres’ 91st-minute goal with a line of commentary which is destined for immortality…

Any excuse to watch that again.

3. Petr Cech may well have been joking when he told a press conference that he’d been on the phone to Jose Mourinho for tips, but someone (perhaps a national newspaper or global broadcasting conglomerate) should tap his voicemail. Chelsea, almost to a ‘T’, went all ‘Inter Milan, Camp Nou, 2010’ on Barca’s arses – even including having a men sent off after half-an-hour!

4. Silly Johnny, he really don’t like Champions League finals do he? Seems he’ll do anything to get out of them…

It’s the kind of thing that would earn you a warm ripple of applause in the changing rooms after a pub league game, but in a Champions League semi-final? Stupidity incarnate.

Granted, it wasn’t particularly violent violent conduct and Sanchez plummeted like Terry had swung a meat cleaver into his right buttock; but with five officials and a raft of cameras cinched in on every player, Terry’s decision to opt for a bit of old-fashioned roughing up (he was definitely going for the dead leg) showed that the elite-level game is quickly leaving ‘agricultural’ players like him behind.

5. Safe to say the merry patrons watching the game in the Fulham Broadway Pub – situated about 100-odd metres down the road from Stamford Bridge – thoroughly enjoyed the Camp Nou climax (of the game that is, we’re not talking about Neville here again!)…

6. For all the fixation on Chelsea’s defensive display, they still managed to score two goals in a ‘pretty-much-winner-takes-all’ grandstand game at the Camp Nou – which is, I’m sure you’re aware, no mean feat.

7. Speaking of the goals, everything about Ramires’ chip was of the very highest calibre. Of course, the finish was majestic but Frank Lampard’s exquisite throughball was every bit as regal…

8. We’ll put pound to a penny that Fernando Torres had flashbacks to Old Trafford as he wafted around Victor Valdes. Good on him though; the hard graft he’s put in this season, the poor lamb deserved a break – and breaks don’t come an awful lot bigger than sealing your side’s berth in the Champions League final.

9. This face is going to haunt out sleep for a good few weeks…

10. Barca’s 2011/12 campaign looks likely to end with just a Copa Del Rey (if they beat Athletic Bilbao in the final) and a largely arbitrary Club World Cup to polish come July. The end of an era? No, probably not. Just an ever-so-slightly duff season.

11. What the heck is Roman Abramovich going to do with Roberto Di Matteo if Chelsea go on and win this damn thing in Munich? We’ve got a sneaking feeling that RDM is going to get bumped back to ‘backroom staff’ whatever the outcome in the Allianz Arena when Mick McCarthy takes his rightful place in Chelsea dugout after guiding England to EURO 2012 glory.

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Posted in Barcelona, Champions League, Chelsea, Featured, Top 10s & lists

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28 Comments

  1. Simon Redshaw says:

    For all your lavish and complete praise of Chelsea, which gives virtually no credence to Barcelona, I feel Chelsea will come up short if they play Real in the final.

    I am afraid, Madrid are too strong for Chelsea. They are the complete team, from what I have seen this season. And don’t forget they have Ronaldo and a number of others that can score. They also have a decent defence.

    To be able to beat Barcelona to the league title by wht looks like 7 points or more when both have been scoring freely in their league, is no mean feat and shows a great team.

    This Chelsea team has been rejeuvanated by Roberto DiMatteo. However, the same players were poor with Villas Boas, which shows either a lack of respect for the former or the lack of experience of the former. Probably both.

    Chelsea did well to beat Barcelona but also had their moments of luck which you fail to state in your largely one-sided commentary. That will not happen again against Real. Chelsea will need more then luck. They will need to be more proactive. It is one game, not two, and Madrid will not be fooled by Chelsea.

    Remember Jose Mourinho knows a lot of the Chelsea players. Oh and if he did pass on information to Chelsea , is taht not breaking rules??

    Hats off to Chelsea if they play Real and beat them. If they play Bayern they have a stronger chance and may just win but I feel that won’t happen.

  2. Al says:

    “Agricultural” is the best description of the lionhearted JT I’ve ever heard.
    Mick McCarthy’s job will be to instill tiki taka football at Chelsea just like he did at Wolves

  3. usrick says:

    Unfortunately, Terry’s red card and the suspensions for yellow cards make it a good bit less likely Chelsea can handle RM or Bayern, especially at Allianz.

    If Chelsea loses the Champions League final and loses the remainder of their league games, De Matteo still deserves to be their long-term manager. If Roman doesn’t see that, he’s even stupider than I think he is.

  4. Ted. says:

    Real shame that their influential player-manager won’t be on the pitch after his sending off last night. “Agricultural” is a good word for Terry although, I can think of many more…the first one rhymes with ‘punt’.

  5. PumaYaYa says:

    Chelsea will play Bayern, not Real.

  6. Miguel - NYC says:

    Praising a team like chelsea is praising phone sex.
    Sure, they made it to the final, but mainly because they got lucky (Barca hit the post 5 times in 2 games). Still, good luck to them and their wonderful football (no wonder the english team hasn’t won crap in so long…they can’t put two passes together). What i wonder is that if Chelsea plays Madrid, what are they going to do with the remaining 40% of possession after they each take 30% and play their most wonderful catenaccio. It would be like a Foosball game where the ball falls in the middle and somebody has to push the ball back into play.
    Anti-Football sure is king today!
    Enjoy it while it lasts.
    Btw, does anyone remember how entertaining was to see Juve vs Milan a few years ago. I think the CL final (if madrid goes through) will be a replica of such exhilarating game!

  7. Mr. Sparkle says:

    I thought I read somewhere that you were a Forest supporter. Didn’t realise in fact you are a Celery man.

    To be quite honest, hopefully Bayern edge out Real. Don’t want those bastards to win a tenth European Cup. It’ll make the competition seem like the Scottish League. Can’t see Chelsea winning this one way or another, not with out London’s favourite racist.

  8. gamblino says:

    All this talk of luck and bland football… Stop playing Fifa and watch a bit of football.

    You’re up against the best team in the world with 10 men at their place and you expect free flowing football?! Fuck off!! Like Chris said, the beauty of the game is as much about graft and great defending as tiki-taka, and the circumstances last night led to a textbook display of the former. The thing about it was that there was no more good or bad luck than in any other average game.

    If you think they are unable to string a pass together then watch the Ramires goal again (10 vs 11). And Miguel, if you’re gonna have a go at the English game on the back of that performance, remember that it was the 8th best team in the Prem with only 10 men.

    And I hate Chelsea.

  9. Al says:

    @ gamblino – well said, this fashion for calling good tactical play and defending “anti-football” has been brought about by Barcelona being sore losers and the sycophantic press surrounding them agreeing when Pep and his team bandy it about in press conferences. The fact is Barcelona play beautiful effective football and other teams need to find a way to counteract that, if that involves defending the center of the park and allowing Barca space on the wings then there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m no Chelsea fan but they did brilliant last night.

    Anti-football is diving, feigning injury, surrounding the ref etc all of which Barcelona are regularly guilty of

  10. Urinal Cakes says:

    they will never beat Barca, Messi will destroy them, they were lucky, wait until they play Real, they played anti-football, shut the fuck up with the excuses.
    If you’re whining it’s because your team aren’t in the final, probably not even in the Champions League and likely never will be. Chelsea showed up and got the job done. I look forward to the next round of pissing and moaning when they beat Bayern in the final.

  11. Miguel - NYC says:

    Chelsea won and good luck to them. They played the only way they could, but for a football fan, is that enough? I know Barca fans would never, never like their team to win this way. It would not be allowed.
    Ramires goal was a thing of beauty, but Barca lost the tie by not scoring in London, where they had their chances but could not put the ball in.
    Still, back at the camp nou, they played the only way they knew how. Attack, attack, attack. Cech is a great goalie and had 2 great performances and Barca lacked that extra bit of luck a champion needs.
    To the comment about being the 8th team, none of the other teams in the english league are competing in Europe. Maybe that’s the reason they are so far behind in the league.
    The CL is a different monster. Man U and Man City didn’t make it pass the group stages and sucked even more in the Europa league. Not to even mention all of the other teams.
    Bilbao is still alive in Europe and will play a final vs Barcelona.
    Barcelona lost their chance of 2 more trophies this season (they already have 3) in a week, and they still have a final to play. That speaks about the level of playing and commitment from the team.
    I don’t hate chelsea or any team out there (ok, i do hate madrid), I just hate ugly football. What does football win from a performance like that? I wonder if any kid out there would rather be Lampard than Messi? Italy won the world cup with catenaccio and Greece won the Euro pretty much the same way and who remembers them? Some fans are happy with so little.
    I like beautiful football and I like Barca.
    Also, it is great to see all the haters come out. 4 years of Barca winning everything brilliantly creates a lot of resentment. Enjoy the moment.

  12. Rob says:

    If a foreign team who had spent hundreds of millions on their squad and put 11 men behind the ball for 180 minutes against an English team and got a result we’d be disgusted. Yet Chelsea are being described as being brave.

  13. dbm says:

    ” when Mick McCarthy takes his rightful place in Chelsea dugout after guiding England to EURO 2012 glory.”

    best line ever

  14. Seán says:

    @Miguel

    Who remembers Italy winning the world cup or Greece winning the Euros? fairly disrespectful to those teams..! Italy were brilliant, especially in the final and completely deserved to win. Greece, like Chelsea, were incredibly disciplined and took their few chances. Why do people have a problem when under dogs win by doing what they have to do? Like other people are saying, great football doesnt have to be free flowing and pass and move. It can be keeping your shape,discipline and concentration for 180 mins against the best club team ever and coming out on top. And I hate Chelsea.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I just think the key thing is that they had 10 men. It was a great performance given those circumstances. Even Barca would have been happy to play like that away from home in such a big match if the roles were reversed. I love Barca and the way they play too so I was strictly neutral for this match.

  16. gamblino says:

    I just think the key thing is that they had 10 men. It was a great performance given those circumstances. Even Barca would have been happy to play like that away from home in such a big match if the roles were reversed. I love Barca and the way they play too so I was strictly neutral for this match.

  17. Mr. Sparkle says:

    @urinalcakes

    Stop drinking the celery juice and look at life from underneath your blue tinted glasses.

    Chelsea played negative football, they simply outlasted Barcelona. However, the simply fact is that Barcelona is and was the better team but not that night. Every team has an off-day.

    Yesterday they just couldn’t manage.

  18. Squillaci says:

    @gamblino, i agree with you 100%.

  19. Papi says:

    @ Simon, @ Miguel – Tl;dr

    And lmao, Mick McCarthy? Hahahaha

  20. Harry says:

    @miguel another bandwagon Barcelona fan? How can you say Chelsea played anti football you moron. Three goals after four shots on target speaks for it self. I think it was justice that messi missed that pen after fabregas has clearly been on the phone to ashely young (and diving is not anti football yh?)

  21. Nuno says:

    @ Miguel
    Another bitter Barça fan. Both Real and Chelsea played what was needed to win, and I honestly don’t think Real played anti-football. They outplayed Barça.
    And about the 30% possession… Well, out of Barça’s 70% possession, 30% is between the defenders so that doesn’t pretty much count. Real/Bayern vs Chelsea will be a much more entertaining match, BOTH teams will play an offensive style. You just CAN’T brand Barça as clearly an offensive team, as 70% of their passes are to the side and backwards.
    I used to like Barça’s playing style and for me Messi is the best player in the world and Xavi should’ve gotten 2 or 3 best player in the world awards. BUT their playing style is plain boring! Real, Bayern and Chelsea will play a more fast paced / direct passes game and it will surely be a better match than it would if Barça played the final.

  22. Vincent Cole says:

    CHELSEA PLAYED A TYPICAL COUNTER ATTACKING STRATEGY AND IT WORKED

    MANY TEAMS DO THIS

    GET OVER IT

  23. Nick Sincere says:

    I support Barca and enjoy their style of play but the object is to score more goals than the other team and that’s what Chelski did. If they parked the bus to do it, so be it, it worked. I’m just glad there was very little violent conduct from Chelsea a la Pepe and Ramos, other than England’s brave and loyal John Terry and he was rightly sent off immediately for it. Congrats to Chelsea and let’s go Bayern!

  24. Giancarlo says:

    @Gamblino: Spot on, and, not surprisingly, the GIF shows Sanchez’ delay on JT’s knee job. That sums up the real notion of anti-football as someone stated: diving, feigning injuries, rolling on the ground, and incessantly surrounding referees asking for cards (I thought this was illegal except for the captains?).

    The idea of wonderful defending is just as much as a part of football as is elegant passing. Personally, all the possession and passing statistics mean absolutely nothing when you don’t win the game. John Terry’s knee was indeed stupid, but not 100% sure that it was a red card, however, Chelsea still did an amazing job at the Camp Nou (and at home) playing with 10 men. Ramires’ chip was a quintessential piece of Brazilian mastery, and I’m glad I took him in my footy pool!

    I’m so glad to see the Spanish sides out because quite frankly I’m sick of hearing about Ronaldo and Messi over and over again. As an elitist/purist, football is about more than just goals, as pretty as they are!

    Well done Chelski! Hire RDM permanently!

  25. Andy Carroll's Ponytail says:

    Being a Liverpool fan and with 2005 in mind, I can’t begrudge Chelski their hour of glory now and if they go on and win the whole shebang.

    But as a football fan, this results polarises me:

    On one hand, I love Barcelona, the euphoric football they dish out and their fierce, maniacal dedication to their cause so this result leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    On the other hand, I watch and uphold football as the world’s greatest sport EXACTLY beacuse a team which no one gave an ice cube’s chance in hell of beating “The Greatest Club side ever assembled” can play the games of their lives, stick to a clear battle plan, ride their luck and emerge victorious.

    Football! Bloody hell.

  26. Bear says:

    @Miguel

    I watched the Chelsea-Barcelona semifinal in 2009 at a pub where fans held opinions very similar to yours: the mentality that if you love football you will appreciate Barcelona winning with the methodical possession and slow attack technique. This is a ridiculous cliche that is banded about when it comes to Barca, and I am sick of it, even considering that I enjoy Barca’s style of play and enjoy witnessing their success. The fact is that no other team has done this type of anti-football so brilliantly as Chelsea did. But if you want to claim the higher ground about Barca being “beautiful football” then what do you call such instances of Busquets diving in the El Clasico last year after being struck in the “throat” (er, face?)? Or even his light headbutt of Lampard, which saw no idiotic simulation as it has it countless other examples? Surely that is not beautiful football. I do not claim Chelsea as ones holding the higher ground, but your saviors seem to have faults like every other team. Jus sayin.

    When I watched that horrid display of officiating in the 2009 semifinal, I recall a Barcelona team that was outplayed and got “lucky,” much like the luck many commentators claim on this blog belongs to Chelsea this time. I would find it hard to believe that there are Barcelona fans that consider that game to have been “beautiful football”. In the eloquent words of Didier Drogba, “it was a fucking disgrace.”

    @ Mr Sparkle – “off-day”? seven different games over the years without a goal against Chelsea for Messi is hardly an “off-day”.

    It doesn’t take much time to realize Chelsea doesn’t get much good press on this blog, so when there is praise the “haters” and the “supporters” come out of the woodwork.

    Congrats on the past victories Barca, this time it’s just not yours.

  27. Qq says:

    Mou’s quote about chelsea critics :

    “They know nothing about character
    and personality. They know nothing
    about the effort or what it is to resist
    physically, emotionally and
    technically, with 10 men. They know
    nothing about organisation. They
    know nothing. That’s why my heroes
    at Chelsea are in my mind and why
    Chelsea deserve to be in the final. One
    of the great things about football is
    that it is unpredictable. Chelsea have
    fantastic fans and so do Bayern
    Munich so I hope they enjoy the final.
    And I hope Chelsea win.”

  28. p says:

    chelsea are the far better attacking team, no one can dispute this.

    outscored barca with less players, and playing a more direct style, and an inferior squad.

    if barca (and messi) were actually as great as everyone says they are (even now) then they certainly wouldn’t need 15 minute build ups and to utilize almost every outfield player they have just to create some chances. even then, the goals they tend to score against any decent club are when they have a ball fall to them in the box or near it and all that has to be done is one pass and one shot

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