Advantage: – Chelsea!!!

Chelsea have achieved what no other team has been able to achieve this season : A clean sheet at Nou Camp.

That tells the story. And believe me there really isnt much else to say.

It was a really disciplined effort from Gus Hiddinks men who knew the task at hand unlike Bayern Munich who were caught sleeping in 1 half of a football game and paid a heavy price. Gus Hiddink got it spot on tactically as his back four were able to control the famous Barca trinity with great ease and panache at times…

Messi was more mediocre than Emmanuel Eboue…Henry caused a few problems for Ivanovic on the left but the end product was missing. Eto looked like a sulking baby who knows his days are numbered at a team that is playing at its peak.

Petr Cech was indeed the man of the match. It was no even contest by any means thou the score line seems to suggest that. Overall Barca had around 20 shots at goal compared to Chelsea’s 3. So you can imagine that Cech had his hands full. And he was looking a lot different and more confident Cech compared to the one we saw against Liverpool.

Drogba had the best chance of the game but was denied from a decent save by Valdes. Eto was similarly denied in an almost one on one by a superb Cech save.

Guardiola’s side looked a distant shadow of the Barca we hear about in newspapers. Same goes for most of its players. Messi gave away more balls than Denilson does for Arsenal in a game. Xavi and Toure wer checked by Ballack and Mikel regularly.

Barca morale would sure be depleted after this draw and i wonder how it would go for them if Real Madrid pull one over on the Guardiola men in the El Classico at the weekend. Another major concern for the Catalan side will be that Puyol misses the next match following a suspension and Marquez limped off injured after the hour mark. So Barca are sure to lack experience in the centre of defense and Drogba and company will surely look to exploit that area…

I had told you guys earlier that Chelsea in Europe are a very difficult proposition for any sides especially over the two legs. The game isn’t over yet, but all in all it was a great draw for Chelsea though a not so great game for us viewers.

Lets see how it goes in the second leg. I will be here to keep you posted next week. But before that we will know for sure who Chelsea or Barcelona will face in the final of the Champions league.

See you tomorrow with the results of the match between the 2 English giants!!!

Champions League Quarter finals Preview

Yesterday’s matches both ended in a draw. Will tonight be any different?

Lets take a look at the would be squads and the history to see if it actually might be any different.

Liverpool v Chelsea: –

The drawback of playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the world is that sometimes you have to face one of your local adversaries in Europe much earlier than you would like. And this precisely is no new thing to Chelsea and Liverpool.

Chelsea will travel to Liverpool in a bid to advance further in the Knock out stages of the championship. But the impetus will surely be with the home team who are currently on a roll of good form and have already beaten Chelsea in their own backyard earlier in this season.

Mentally it would be tough for the blues to forget how Liverpool broke one of the longest standing records in Premiership history when they defeated Chelsea at home, who had been undefeated for years…

Here are the team details as per The Telegraph:

Team details

Liverpool (4-2-3-1, r-l): Reina; Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio; Alonso, Lucas; Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera; Torres.
Chelsea (4-3-3, r-l): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, A Cole; Mikel, Essien, Lampard; Kalou, Drogba, Malouda.
Referee: Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark)

Gerrard- Torres combo is sure on fire for Liverpool off late and I am sure they will be key if Liverpool is to take any advantage to Stamford Bridge in the second Leg.

Dangerous Duo, Beware Europe

Dangerous Duo, Beware Europe

For Chelsea it would be the midfield which will be very crucial. Lampard, Essien and Mikel will have to dictate the tempo of the game and control it to Chelsea’s favor. Would be interesting to see how Drogba performs tonight. He is the type of player who usually performs in big matches, and does it get bigger than this?

Lampard and Essien will have to dominate the midfield

Lampard and Essien will have to dominate the midfield

I feel Liverpool will have an edge, more due to the tremendous recent form they have had both in the European competition and the Barclays Premier League.

 Barcelona v Bayern Munich: –

Even before i start discussing the two teams its better we take a look at the teams first. So here ar ethe team details once again thanks to The Telegraph:

Team details

Barcelona (probable, 4-1-2-3): Valdes; Alves, Marquez, Pique, Puyol; Xavi; Keita, Iniesta; Messi, Eto’o, Henry.
Bayern Munich (probable, 4-3-3): Rensing; Oddo, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Ze Roberto, Van Bommel; Ribery, Toni, Podolski.
Referee: H Webb (England).

Well both sides here are extremely good on paper stuffed with world class players and its difficult to choose one. Then again its difficult to choose on paper. Anyone following the La liga will know of the sheer domination Pep Guardiola’s team has had on the Spanish league this season.

So my pick would be Barcelona. They would be playing at home and if all goes will the tie would be decided in the first leg itself (assuming they score 4/5 goals). But underestimating Bayern would be a mistake as Guardiola would know that Jorgen Klinsmann’s men could well dent the Barcelona defense and get the crucial away goals so coveted in this stage of the tournament.

Messi holds the key for Barca going forward and he has been in the form of his life. Luckily he hasn’t had any major injuries this season and so he has been able to reach the high expectations people have set for him. Lot would be expected from him again this time as he would be up against the wily & crafty Phillip Lahm who is no stranger to the tricks of the trade.

Messi, the man in form

Messi, the man in form

For Bayern Ribery would be the man to be watched for. He is on the target-list of all the top clubs of Europe with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona themselves interested in signing the player. He would definitely like to impress one of his prospective suitors with a dazzling performance.

Ribery, the man to watch out for

Ribery, the man to watch out for

All in all, I think Barca would have just a little too much going for them to be able to be stopped by Bayern.

Will update final score after the match… Till then Adieus!!!