Monday, 30 April 2012

Barcelona just could not pass

There was only one way to sum up Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona in the Camp Nou - World Class.

Petr Cech in goal.

World Class.

Ashley Cole at left back.

World Class.

Didier Drogba at left back.

World Class.

Ramires’ finish.

Frank’s pass.

Fernando’ goal.

All World Class.

An expression that is overused in the extreme when it comes to football expletives.

But not when used to describe this match.

It was quite simply the best night of football in many a year.

The first leg set it up perfectly.

Didier Drogba scoring the only goal of a game Barcelona dominated in possession.

But that was all Barcelona could manage - possession.

The goals that usually appear from this much time on the ball just never materialised.

Lionel Messi.

Xavi Hernández.

Andrés Iniesta.

The greatest attack in the world.

Able to unlock almost any defence in the world.

They have done so for 4 straight seasons now.

But then they hit Chelsea.

Only one team has come close to stopping Barcelona in this time - Inter Milan.

They went on to be crowned European Champions that season and indeed completed a treble.

That’s how good that team were.

Real Madrid have come up desperately short in that period against their main rivals - even under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United were the best team in Europe until Barcelona knocked them back into second and then created a considerable gap between them.

Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Arsenal couldn’t touch them.

Yet Chelsea did.

They not only defended superbly - they attacked superbly.

They didn’t get many chances over the two legs, but when they did - they took them.

World class passing and world class finishing from Frank, Ramires and Fernando were needed.

But Chelsea had that in them.

Barcelona did not.

When their chances came they found an imperious Petr in goal.

When he was beaten - they hit the woodwork.

Not bad luck.

Just bad finishing.

And good defending.

For even when Barcelona found space, it was closed down so quickly by the Chelsea defence that their usually composed finishes were rushed time and again.

It was incredible to watch.

It was heroic.

It was romantic.

It was one of the greatest feats of defending in a long time.

It is why I love football.

Why people love the underdog.

And why the underdog believes.

It was not lucky.

It was not anti football.

It was a team with limitations telling superior opponents that they shall not pass.

And as ironic as it is for a team who hold onto the ball better than any team in the world, they could not do just that.

Barcelona could not pass.

Even when Chelsea went down to 10 men.

Even when their second centre back went off injured.

Even when they conceeded a penalty from a dive.

Barcelona could not pass.

A team that had won 13 out of the previous 14 tournaments they had entered.

A team that was on course to become the first team to ever retain the Champions League.

This is how good a team FC Barcelona are.

World class.

They just weren’t as good as the Chelsea defence...

1 comment:

  1. i think chelsea were deadly. you just cudnt see barcalona getting through at all. even with messi and xavi and iniesta etc. they are all the best attackers around and they ran out of ideas in th end