The amount of emotion running through the Camp Nou and everyone watching that incredible Semi Final second leg between Barcelona and Chelsea could power a city. The heartbreak and ache for Barcelona fans, real and bandwagoners, who are so easy to dismiss the team they praise with the same ease.
Chelsea, against all odds, with 10 men. Fernando Torres, the most intriguing man, having the last laugh. What is going on in his mind when he scores that goal? Roberto Di Matteo is another incredible story. He’s going to have a huge problem finding a centre back for the Champions League final. Not just in terms of ability, but mostly the leadership John Terry brings to the table.
Where did it go wrong for Barcelona? Not the lack of plan B. Just the lack of will to make a mess of things. Their goal against Real Madrid didn’t come from a beautifully designed play. Passing around the edge of the box when no one is willing to take a shot made it easier for Chelsea, knowing what’s not coming.
Lionel Messi – Only Human
Saying Lionel Messi is a loser, a choker… People actually started writing about that the moment the game was over. Yes, he hasn’t been able to score against Chelsea in 8 matches against the English club. But like Guardiola said – Messi brought them there, not alone, but did plenty on the long way towards another Champions League Semi Final. Didn’t he score 5 goals in one match just about a month ago? Losses do come along, failures will happen to the best players and best teams. Messi isn’t god. He’s the best player in the world, which doesn’t mean he’s bulletproof to a bad week.
Pep Guardiola – The Future
Unknown. It sound ridiculous to think Guardiola needs to go somewhere else, but we can never know what’s in his mind, his heart. Maybe it’s just too damn exhausting being the head coach at Barcelona, and four seasons have been enough for him. He said he’ll everyone know soon enough. If Barcelona want to jump right back on the horse next season, they should sign him, now, and for a long time.
Chelsea and ‘Anti-Football’
There’s no such thing as AF. There’s ultra-defensive, just like what Chelsea did at the Camp Nou, and at Stamford Bridge. It’s their right, and as long as it doesn’t involve something illegal, what’s the harm in it? Team who defend all the time will eventually lose. They might luck out and win a title here and there. Greece, 2004. But not anything that beats Barcelona is against the laws of nature. Chelsea players left their heart out on the pitch. They are one of the weakest teams to reach the finals and less enjoyable to watch, but it’s silly to say they don’t deserve it.
Roberto Di Matteo – Sign Him Now
Di Matteo, unlike Andre Villas Boas, didn’t try and change the culture at Chelsea without having the adequate players. He knew what he had to play with, and keeps squeezing that Lemon dry. Physical team, with a couple of skill players, strong defense and a lot of heart and leadership. He just put the right men to follow on center stage once again. It isn’t pretty, in the league or the Champions league, but it gets the job done.
Chelsea Centre Back Problems
John Terry is suspended. Gary Cahill might be injured. So is David Luiz. Branislav Ivanovic won’t be able to play in the final after yellow cards. Which led to this tragic moment –
Food for thought for a team running out of players to use at centre back. Chelsea probably won’t defend like they did against Barcelona, either against Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. Opening things up might be deadly. And if there’s one team that has proven this season they can break down defensive sieges, it’s Real Madrid, who unlike Barcelona, don’t rely on playmakers solving the problems. They just attack with full force and shoot and shoot. There are some things they can still teach Barcelona.