Praesidium

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chelsea

Well, 2-1 down after the home leg, Chelsea were always second favourites to come through against Barca, and so it proved tonight.

I thought the Chelsea line up was a bit surprising. I'd have expected them to play 4-1-4-1 with Makalele behind four attacking midfielders; but it seems they went for 4-2-3-1 with Lampard playing a holding midfield role. Almost needless to say, he was totally anonymous, and this to me just shows up how one-dimensional he is. In Lampard's favoured position (attacking midfield) there may indeed be little to choose between him and Gerrard, but you won't catch Frank playing right wing or even full-back - both positions Stevie has filled well for Liverpool.

Generally, I have to say for two such good teams, it was a poor match, with a lot of silly fouls and broken play. Ronaldinho's backheels and trickery provided a few moments of excitement, but otherwise there was little to catch the eye.

Barca had the edge in what was a fairly even match, but for all their forward play seemed a bit shy of actually shooting. Chelsea, however, offered very little attacking threat - especially when they threw on Huth as a target man in desperation. The injury-time penalty, resulting in an undeserved draw, was doubly harsh on Barca since not only did the tackle appear fair but John Terry was offside anyway.

Still, even the 1-1 draw wasn't enough for Chelsea. Needless to say, Mourinho hardly accepted defeat graciously, still going on about losing a man in the first match - but that's what happens if you commit a red card offence. I think Chelsea were lucky Messi only lasted 30 minutes tonight, or he could have tormented them further...

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