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|SoccerAnchor's experts have their say: Can Chelsea beat Barcelona tonight?|
Chelsea will go into tonight's second leg at the Camp Nou with a slender 1-0 lead, knowing that they will need to put in a special performance to eliminate Barcelona from the competition. Here at SoccerAnchor, our experts have cast their eye over the game, and given you their predictions...
Adrian Del Monte
No. Chelsea cannot and will not beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou this evening, as they simply do not possess the quality to go the distance with the reigning champions over the 90 minutes on their home turf. The Blaugrana have not lost three successive fixtures since 2002, which is another record that will not be broken tonight.
Having said this though, yes, Chelsea can come away with a draw, which obviously will be enough to progress. Barcelona being held goalless at home is a very rare occurrence, however if the Londoners can make the most of at least one of their attacking plays, then I definitely believe the Blues have what it takes to come away with a 1-1 draw.
Remember, should Chelsea score one, Barcelona need three, but for me the Spanish heavyweights will be far too strong, and will do enough to see off their opponents.
Yes. I think they will. Chelsea will shut all their attacking doors right from the first whistle and they are pretty good in doing that. They are aware of the fact that the home side will have plenty of ball possession, will throw men forward and create incessant attacks till the very end. Important thing is switching on the concentration button and not making blunders at the back.
And that’s where Chelsea are so effective than any other English teams. Manchester United got frustrated and lost their composure against the Catalan giants on two occasions. Likewise with Arsenal, but Chelsea won’t mind sitting deep and soaking the pressure.
Chelsea must have seen how Real Madrid capitalized on Barcelona’s aerial weaknesses. If they get odd free kicks, corners then with Drogba’s presence inside the box, they might get a goal even which would further complicate the situation. Moreover, Barcelona are never comfortable with direct football playing against them. And that definitely will be Chelsea’s main weapon for completing their unfinished businesses.
Much has been made of Chelsea’s disciplined performance last week at Stamford Bridge however although I agree with many that Chelsea were impressive I also believe that the result had more to do with Barcelona’s deficiencies than anything that Di Matteo’s side did.
Barca have looked slightly off the pace in recently starting with the away game in Levante a couple of weeks ago where they only just managed to scrape a 2-1 win in dramatic fashion. Their lack of zest and efficiency in front of goal was evident once again in the 'Clásico' this weekend and even though they inevitably dominated possession they failed to really do anything with it.
Despite the one goal deficit Barcelona must still be heavy favorites for this tie. The likes of Messi and Iniesta will be a huge threat to Chelsea however I believe that the key for the Catalan’s will be the pace and movement of Alexis Sánchez.
I expect Chelsea to play exactly like they did at Stamford Bridge if only with a bit more resilience. Roberto Di Matteo’s side will look to defend with 10 men with Drogba the lone forward. Chelsea will try their luck with long balls and set pieces in search for the crucial away goal. On the other hand Barcelona will play their usual game with a bit more sharpness in front of goal. Guardiola made it pretty clear in yesterday’s press conference on how he wants his team to play. “As long as I am the manager, we will keep passing the ball. That is the essence of our game” said the Barcelona coach. Having rested the key players against Arsenal, I expect Chelsea to be the more energetic bunch. The deciding factor however will be how Barcelona reacts to the ‘El Clásico’ defeat. If it’s a positive reaction from the Catalans then it’s bad news for Chelsea. No team would want to be at the receiving end of Barcelona’s wrath. Personally speaking, I fully expect the Catalans to turn over the one goal deficit and secure their passage to Munich.
Highly unlikely that Chelsea will win and go through to the final, but they did have the best preparation for what’s in store. Playing Arsenal could not have been any better for the Blues, as they are the closest thing to the Blaugrana in the EPL.
Learning how to shut down (an out-of-form) Robin van Persie will help the English side cope with Lionel Messi.
Mental fatigue will be the thing that will beat the 22 players on the field. Both sides have had to play at a very high intensity, considering their weekend’s opponents, but I think Barcelona’s players have become more accustomed to this when compared to the younger Blues’ players.
And considering that Roberto Di Matteo has allowed the older brigade of players run the show on the pitch and get the results, physical fatigue could also kick in.
Sorry to say it, but can’t see Chelsea beating Barça.
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