Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League
The only thing standing between Chelsea and another Champions League final, another chance to right the perceived wrongs of that night in Moscow - that John Terry slip and penalty miss, that Manchester United victory - the only thing standing in the way is the greatest football team ever assembled.
The greatest team ever assembled. They’re like the Avengers, although it is difficult to compare Lionel Messi to Thor or Captain America when he is, just like the other pigeon chested munchkins of Barcelona, tiny enough to fit into Paris Hilton’s handbag.
It is a credit to Chelsea’s recent turnaround under Roberto Di Matteo that they find themselves in the enviable position of being England's last representative in Europe, with only the small matter of Barcelona standing in their way with their famous tiki-taka onslaught of balletic football.
A final at Munich’s shiny Allianz Arena awaits the winner and either the other half of the El Clasico divide - Real Madrid, currently sitting top of La Liga - or Bayern Munich themselves, who will no doubt be determined to impress upon the visitors the advantage of playing on home turf. It is not going to be easy to finally achieve the long held dream of Chelsea’s obscenely wealthy owner; a Champions League trophy.
The record between the two clubs is surprisingly equal. Barcelona have won 5 of their thirteen encounters, Chelsea four, the rest draws.
And if this first leg tie follows the pattern laid down previously; it will be a nervy defensive affair with both teams looking to come out of the fray with everything to play for in Barcelona.
A predominately defensive game will require Chelsea’s attacking players to come to the fore with out help. The Spanish duo of Juan Mata and Fernando Torres may be relied upon to provide the attacking finesse. And while Torres isn’t exactly on a goal scoring spree, he did score seven goals against Barca in the colours of Atletico Madrid. Whether he can recapture that kind of form is up for debate however.
Memories of Chelsea’s 2009 defeat to Barcelona will also abound pre-match. The referee was blamed by Chelsea for that defeat. Tom Henning Ovrebo, the Norwegian ref, has a special place in the hearts of Chelsea fans.
Barcelona have, if anything, improved since then, while Chelsea have aged. Nevertheless Chelsea will feel it is within their power to right some old wrongs.
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