Chelsea – Barcelona: CL Semi Liveblog I

 

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Fabregas

Bench: Pinto, Bartra, Thiago, Piqué, Pedro, Keita and Cuenca

Chelsea XI: Cech, Ivanović, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Meireles, Ramires, Mata and Drogba

Show up BEFORE the match starts at 2:45 PM EST. If you don’t you will have to wait until there is a lull in the game to be approved.

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132 Comments

  1. mom4
    April 18, 2012

    Man, those FSC guys have zero respect for VV. Silly EPl apologists.

  2. Manish
    April 18, 2012

    How about giving a high 5.. go go Barca…

  3. April 18, 2012

    We need to
    1. Convert simple chances
    2. Pray that the ball doesn’t hit the freaking post so much!

    VLAST IT VLINKY-DINKS!!!

  4. Xavi6
    April 18, 2012

    We were WASTEFUL infront of the goal , I still can’t believe the amount of chances we missed infront
    This match could have easily ended with a win for us.
    and what about Fabregas ??? , he must have a drill of playing the ball into the damn net .
    Guardiola was awful , all of the play went through the middle of an extremely narrow chelsea defence , why not playing through the flanks to stretch their slow defence. Fabregas should have been substituted by the half time , and taking Alexis off was a bad decision.

    I hope our players wake up

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      If Cesc came off we wouldnt even have had the chance that alexis missed.Xavi should have come off as hes not really making incisive passes at the edge of the box any more.

      • Xavi6
        April 18, 2012

        We needed width (Cuenca) , and to move Sanchez centrally .
        Cesc was awful , and we moved Iniesta on the left losing all of his linkup play to accomodate Cesc into formation.

        If Cuenca was in , I think we could have created more chance.
        And the team must have a drill how to finish balls into an open net . Cesc and Busi finishes was just awful , and can’t be tolerated at this level.

        • barca96
          April 18, 2012

          Alexis missed a great xhance too!!

          Xavi, Iniesta, Alves, Thiago & Cesc need shooting and finishing drills badly.

        • barca96
          April 18, 2012

          Messi couldn’t even get a clear view of the goal that is how good they are. Let’s please stop underestimating Chelsea and thinking that we will smash them next week.

          Today was the perfect time to take advantage considering that they had one less day of rest and we didn’t have a tough match coming into this match whereas next week we are playing them after playing a title decider.

          So for that reason I dont tjink we will score 3 next week as the playera will be phyaically and mentally exhausted.

          • Xavi6
            April 18, 2012

            If this awful finishing continued , no hope of scoring any goals.
            We had 2 titles to be decided in 3 days , It’s time for this team to show what they are made of

  5. nia
    April 18, 2012

    That was awful finishing by Barca. If Messi doesn’t score, no one does.

  6. jordi™
    April 18, 2012

    Man if not for Leo hurting himself and losing the ball they never wouldve scored.We did enough to score at least one and didnt get any :/ but thats football. On the plus side it seems pedro is finding his shooting boots again.Cesc Alexis and the rest have got to find theirs if we are going to make a final push in these next defining games of the season.

  7. TITO
    April 18, 2012

    Was a performance i liked, but GOD, how many chances do we need to score a single goal?????
    And they had only 1 shot on the goal and it went in. I just hope we rape them in Camp Nou.
    Some observations:
    Cesc had to go out in the start of the second half and Iniesta to be positioned in the middle. On the left flank he was a total waste. I don’t know what was Pep thinking.
    Pedro for Alexis, REALLY???? It should have been Pedro for Cesc.
    Opposite to the last SF game against them we did create some clear goal opportunities, and i still dont get it how none of them was put in. The defense was ok-ish, well, they didn’t had much to do apart form those throw ins.
    I’m still more than convinced that we are going through.

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      Pedro for Alexis almost got us the draw.

    • barca96
      April 18, 2012

      Inter 2009??

      Arsenal, yeah we bossed them but almost went out because of the lack of goals. Because thia team thinks it’s the possessiom stats that wins.

      • April 18, 2012

        Inter ’09 actually went very well considering Messi and Ibra were out.

        Inter ’10 however.. Though we did get the result that will put us level in the tie..

        Arsenal got a lucky break with the OG mind you. They didn’t have a sniff earlier..

  8. Helge
    April 18, 2012

    Ok, I’m a bit emotional right now, and I have to say **** Cesc Fabregas.

    Apart from that, no width(!), not enough movement, and also barely any pace in the match, except of some runs by Messi.
    Still a draw would have been fair…

    I felt from the beginning that a line-up with Cesc, Busi, Xavi and Iniesta would be way too much focused on the center of the pitch. Made it very easy for Chelsea to defend. This line-up, and this finishing, was a ******* disgrace, to quote the guy who was my MotM.

    • Nik
      April 18, 2012

      Come on man. No matter how bad Cesc’s performance was tonight, he’s still a Barça player. He, or anyone else on the team, doesn’t deserve that from the fans.

      • Helge
        April 19, 2012

        It’s not like this was the first match in which he simply cannot score from best opportunities. He hasn’t scored since 3 months in the league, hsi rate dropped from 0.89 goals per match to less than 0.05 over the last 3 months!!!

        And if you look at his miss from close range, he was even in acres of space… For me this is unexcusable.
        Maybe we’ve bought tropyhless-ness with Cesc?

        • Nik
          April 19, 2012

          I was objecting to you saying “f&^$ Cesc”. I agree that he shouldn’t be starting, and he should have been yanked before the start of the second half. But no matter how poorly anyone on our team performs, and as long as they are putting in effort, no member of our team deserves to be cursed out like that.

    • April 18, 2012

      The above post by Helge has been edited.

      I’ll take up the Cesc point though: he was terrific in the first half and wore down in the second. Replacing him about 10 minutes earlier would have made a bit more sense, I think, but he carved out enough chances that it’s hard to really argue.

      In the end the team was just profligate and paid for it. Back to the Camp Nou down just 1 goal–hard to argue with that when you don’t score any at all. Missing the away goal could prove really crucial, but the team can put in a serious performance and if they get a similar number of chances, the game will be truly won by halftime of the next leg. That’s a big if, of course…

  9. Momo
    April 18, 2012

    Ughhh… One of the most one sided matches I’ve ever seen. We were terribly unlucky. Chelsea will not survive at the Camp nou playing like this, the players don’t look worried, and neither am I.

    However, this “big game” formation that pep has developed which includes Cesc in midfield and iniesta on the wing is very detrimental to our passing game. The tempo is slow, both wide players (iniesta and alexis) act as ball circulators and offer no penetration. Completely predictable and can make any team seem like they put on a defensive masterclass.

    What I feel needs to be done, ditch the “big game” formation, stick with the 4-3-3 away with two NATURAL wingers running at fullbacks, full backs overlapping, Xavi, iniesta, and busi in mid circulating the ball as fast as possible. That’s how you break a bus.

    • barca96
      April 18, 2012

      Why do many of you take the rwturn leg at camp nou for granted?

      Remember Inter?

      This team is a carbon copy of them and Chelaea actually have a striker who can hurt us in Drogba unlike Inter.

      • Momo
        April 18, 2012

        Again it depends on the approach, if Pep decides to go with the same starting XI as today our chances go down tremendously. If its a classic 4-3-3 with two real wingers and Xaviniesta (NO CESC) then I’m relatively confident chelsea’s bus (which was pretty lucky today) can be broken.

        And no this chelsea are not nearly as defensively adept as the Inter we faced. If it wasn’t for terrible finishing this would have been 3-1.

      • rohitv16
        April 18, 2012

        Dont think this Chelsea is even remotely close to anything that Inter in 2010 was. Chelsea defense crumbles when the wingers make runs behind Ivanovic… All we need is one goal and we can run riot as Chelsea will need to score to get through if we get 2 goals. From what I’ve watched Chelsea throughout the season under both AVB and RDM they are a pretty poor unit when they need to attack which they will have to once we score a goal or two at the Camp Nou. Don’t think it will be easy for us. But, we should be through!

      • April 18, 2012

        I remember Inter and I remember the final score too. 1-0, wasn’t it?

      • Ryan
        April 18, 2012

        That Inter had an on-form Milito and Eto’o. Those 2 > Drogba IMO.

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Cesc as of now has no place in an effective, fast tempo, classic barca 4-3-3. His qualities make him difficult to fit in to any formation as he’s fantastic in the final third but on par with keita in terms of ball circulation in midfield.

      Yes this is his first year and his numbers in the 3-4-3 at the tip of the diamond are impressive. But in a 4-3-3 away in games like this the negatives of his accommodation (pushing iniesta out to the wing) by far out weigh the positives he brings.

  10. barca96
    April 18, 2012

    Embarrassing….

    Now they’re.goona say that we were lucky in 2009.

    I feel like shooting Alves at times.

    We can act positive and say that we will beat them weak but what, you guys think that they’re going to defend like they did today, they aee not going to roll over.

    I dont understand why this team didm’t step up a gear in the 1st half. It was obvious they were giving in so all we had to do was to get the 1st goal to open them. Instead they get a goal and played deeper than ever.

    Abd why oh why always trying to go through the.middle when they have 9 men behind ball. This team becer learns..

    This team seems to need at least 20 chances to score while the opposing team only need 2-3 chances to score especially with our defence with their brain fart momenta.

    This loss is embarrassing and it’s very similar to Arsenal and Inter.

    • April 18, 2012

      Um. we WERE lucky in 2009. If it were replayed now, Iniesta would’ve struck the post 😛

  11. Helge
    April 18, 2012

    Also, for me Chelsea has the advantage now.

    They can defend as good as Mou’s Inter. I don’t see us scoring 3 against them. 2-1 my tip for the 2nd leg.

    Last time it was heartache for Chelsea, this time it’s our turn. But we can only blame ourselves, not the ref.

    • April 18, 2012

      While I agree that Chelsea have the advantage right now I am not sure that I agree that we cant score 3 against them at the Nou Camp. Tonight we didnt take our chances, but had we could have scored 4 goals. That is away from home, on their slippery pitch with a bus parked in front of goal. We are more than capable of scoring 3 at home, with our crowd behind us and the pitch in perfect condition. Just take the chances because they will come.

      I do agree with you regarding Fabergas though. Cocked it up bigtime tonight. We bought him to score those goals not miss sitters. He really needs to get his shit together!

      No matter what happens though I love this team and I am proud of the boys. I would rather go out of the CL playing the way we did then progress playing the way Chelsea did.

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Defend as well as Mou’s inter? Not even close. The amount of clear cut chances today that were missed by our player’s own incompetence should tell you that. If sanchez, cesc and messi were having good days this would be a route.

      Bottom line they got lucky.

  12. Dave
    April 18, 2012

    Cuenca, Tello and Thiago should of been brought on earlier no question. A pure finisher is required for next year.

  13. sd
    April 18, 2012

    Lost 1-0. We should look beyond the surface.

    2 posts, 2 open goal misses, several chances, some excellent defending from the other team. Over 70% possession and restricted them to just a few long range shots and one genuine chance that came off a broken play. Barca played much much better, completely controlled the game and should have won. If we have the same performance next week in the Camp Nou in terms of domination and control Barca will be going through.

    The 2 upcoming games and this game are key to the season. There’s no way Barca was going to win all three of these games. Also, before this game the last time Barca lost was 14 games ago to Osasuna where in that stretch Barca went 13 W and 1 D. If I had to pick losing or drawing any of the 3 games this would have been the one. The team played well, created lots of chances, dominated possession and restricted Chelsea. That is enough for me. Results vary.

  14. barca96
    April 18, 2012

    YeAh defensively as good and they have Drogba who can definitely score again.

    Barca has to score 3 by half-time to progress. Not playing for a 0-0 like they did in today’s first half.

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      Playing for a 0-0? Did you even watch the 1st half?

      • mangut
        April 18, 2012

        They may have created chances, which they blew, but they did not play dynamically. Very little movement, very conservative. Xavi is afraid to let some longer passes go. It was a pedestrian effort until they conceded the lead.

        • caosanping
          April 18, 2012

          I had the same feeling about Xavi, maybe even from the world cup. Xavi often plays too safely and barely takes any risk on the field. This is probably why his assists drops a lot since 2010. With him, we have high possession. But on the other hand, we don’t take chance on the field and we only shoot when it’s 100% chance or when it’s Messi. This is not a problem when Messi is in good form and when other people have their shooting boots on. But recently seems nobody knows how to score except Messi. This becomes a problem when Messi is locked up in the middle of defense.

          In this game, I saw the same problem as we had with Levante. We create chances, but nobody can finish it except Messi. If Messi is deprived of shoots, we can’t score. Guadiola should encourage other people to shoot and take chances. This is why I like Adriano sometimes because he never hesitates when he has a scoring chance. But somehow I feel Guadiola doesn’t like our players to shoot unless it’s a certain goal. I did notice Tello didn’t get any chance since he ignored Messi and tried to shoot from a narrow angle. It’s good for team play. But it lacks surprise and the defenders will gain confidence once they figure out you won’t shoot.

    • Richzorz
      April 18, 2012

      3 by halftime?! That’s a bit demanding (if not quite possible…)

      • barca96
        April 18, 2012

        Yes if we are leading 2-0 only all Chelsea has to do is pull 1 back. They need to score 3 to be safe. If Chelsea scores 1 or 2 which they are capable of they still have time to adjust.

        Remember Arsenal last season? They thiught they had done enough and dozed off and if it wasnt for the brilliant sMasch we would’ve been OUT.

        KO rounds with away goals rule is brutal.

        • caosanping
          April 18, 2012

          If Barca can score 1 at half time, I will be happy. But I am afraid it will be 0-0 at half time. I am positive Barca will generate a lot of chances. But sometimes you never know what can happen on the field (hit the bar, someone injured, someone sent off). Let’s hope our luck changes next round.

  15. TITO
    April 18, 2012

    I’m not saying that Pedro shouldn’t have been introduced, just not for Alexis but for Cesc. And Thiago for Xavi. Much earlier.

  16. Kimcelona
    April 18, 2012

    I’m sorry, I PMS’ing so I might come across as a negative nilly but I’m very disappointed in Pep’s line up tonight. I know, I know..hindsight is 20-20 but play was WAAY TOO narrow. I saw that from the line up was announced. Over and freakin over again we chose to play in the middle of a PACKED defense. And why do we have to make the team suffer to accomodate Cesc in the starting line-up?! Why?! Why?!

    When the heck are we gonna address our finishing problem?! THAT was the main problem here. Finshing was horrible. We had no luck but you make your own luck..

    I’m sorry I cant be all rainbows and sunshine after a loss. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach..the same I had against Inter in 2010. Chelsea are the big favorites now..and I have no doubt they will park it in the Camp Nou and get lucky…seems like a Madrid/Chels final is on the horizon….

    Sigh..

    (Disclaimer: I may be overreacting but that how I feel now)

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Wow, so you’re confident real are going to be in the final and overturn a 1 goal deficit against BAYERN but you don’t think we can do that against this chelsea?

      Overreacting is an understatement… Sheesh

      • Kimcelona
        April 18, 2012

        Who said anything about being confident of EE making the finals?

        But if I was to go off games in this season, including the CL matches:

        – Chels and BAY are two totally different teams. Chelsea can lock us out, Bayern can’t lock EE out.

        – EE finishes their chances, we don’t.

        Pep’s press conference basically sums up my feelings. Chelsea are the faves, possession doesnt win games, next match will be the same, if not worse; with 9 men packed in the middle, behind the ball. We gotta take our chances.

        No if only he’d see the negative trade-offs with playing Cesc from the start now.
        (Its not even a knock against Cesc..he’s a fantastic player but he just doesnt fit the system at the moment and thus he doesnt contribut how you would like and how you know he can.)

        So allow me to overreact..

        • Momo
          April 18, 2012

          “Who said anything about being confident of EE making the finals?”

          “seems like a Madrid/Chels final is on the horizon….”

          Ughh I’m getting off this blog for a while. The overreacting and knee-jerking is ridiculous.

          • Kimcelona
            April 18, 2012

            Yes, please do. Maybe when you come back you’ll know how to comprehend better.

            Saying it “SEEMS” something will happen does not equal “I AM CONFIDENT” something will happen.

            Sheesh.

    • Ryan
      April 18, 2012

      Yes, but I imagine you had a sinking feeling when we lost to Arsenal, eh?

  17. mom4
    April 18, 2012

    I rather enjoyed our dominance today.
    Our passing was pretty.
    Our finishing sucked.
    99% good stuff undone by 1 moment of weakness on which they pounced.
    As I said before the game on the LB, what was Fabregas doing in the lineup.
    C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.
    Onward to Camp Nou. It’gonna be a long week. Plus that other team invades withan extra day’s rest.
    Visca Barca.

  18. April 18, 2012

    That was a good performance that went unrewarded. It happens. It’s one leg of a two legged tie and we’re very much in this. Pep does need to make adjustments though; I would play two wide players (Alves up front on the right, one of Cuenco/Pedro on the left and Messi behind Alexis in the middle) with Xavi/Busi/Iniesta next time.

  19. mangut
    April 18, 2012

    We may have had all of the possession but have nothing to show for it but rationalizations about how it will be different at the Nou Camp. The bad habits are not easily broken and wastefulness is going to kill this season. Stubbornness is going to end this season. Insisting that Fabregas start is going to keep putting the team at a disadvantage. Pedro needs to start. Thiago, Cuenca or Tello need to start. They are not going to break down that parked bus by standing around or not having someone in the left wing. I understand Villa is hard to replace but at some point you have to trust in your players. Guardiola will play with a 3-4-3 at home because Cesc has to play. I hope it works.

  20. April 18, 2012

    I am not sure why everyone is critisising Pep. He played a team that was geared towards controlling the game, keeping possession and creating changes. ALL those things happened. We just didn’t take our chances, which you cannot blame Pep for. The players who didn’t finish are at fault here, Sanchez and Cesc in particular. On another night we could have easily won this by 3 or more and Pep’s tactics would be hailed as brilliant. Football is a funny game and sometimes it can be unfair as hell, tonight was one of those nights, but you cant blame Pep.

    • mangut
      April 18, 2012

      If he deserves credit he deserves blame as well. He has the luxury of seeing Fabregas in practice, which must be spectacular, because the decisions to start him cannot be based on his current form. Cesc put it perfectly when he admit thenothernday that he feels lost at times. That is exactly what he looks like out there.

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      IMO as I said above, his “big game” formation with iniesta on the left and cesc in the center in a 4-3-3 completely defies logic for me. Ball circulation in that formation is slow and player’s are always confused about their positioning. Fabregas ends up drifting forward while messi moves to midfield to pick up the ball, making us look like argentina.

      I love Cesc but HE HAS NO PLACE IN A 4-3-3! Either play him at the tip of the diamnond in a 3-4-3 or keep his ass on the bench.

  21. barca96
    April 18, 2012

    Messi couldn’t even get a clear view of the goal that is how good they are. Let’s please stop underestimating Chelsea and thinking that we will smash them next week.

    Today was the perfect time to take advantage considering that they had one less day of rest and we didn’t have a tough match coming into this match whereas next week we are playing them after playing a title decider with EE.

    So for that reason I dont think we will score next week as they will be physically and mentally exhausted.

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Ugh… Here we go again, acting like Chelsea put up a defensive master class that will be remembered for years. I’m tired of trying to prove my point so….

      Yes barca96, Chelsea owned us tonight. Xavi, messi, and iniesta trembled in awe before the other worldly technique of John terry, Obi Mikel, and Ramires. We were destroyed inevery single aspect and given a masterclass on how top play football. For years to come coaches will watch this match and make their players watch it just to show them how chelsea have set the gold standard for football.

      • barca96
        April 18, 2012

        Dude when our best player can’t even get a clear shot on goal that says something of their defence.

        Alves couldn’t get past A. Cole.

        Iniesta only had one successful dribble.

        So give Chelsea some credit.

        • April 18, 2012

          13 shots, 6 on target. 2 of which hit the post and 2 of which were open nets. Yeah, clearly we got owned.

          Shit happens. That is football. We were by miles the better team. Compare this game to last one at the bridge where we had a grand total of 1 goal. The goal that made all the difference.

          Finishing was the problem tonight, nothing more, nothing less. We finish those chances, we win the game 4-1 and you are singing a very different song.

        • Momo
          April 18, 2012

          I already mentioned above that I give chelsea credit for holding their ground. You however are making them seem like God’s gift to football and making it seem like barca played a terrible game.

          They defended ok. They also got very lucky.

          We had 4 VERY good chances that should have been finished. If just two of them were converted this sh*tfest wouldn’t be happening.

          Can they win this tie? Maybe, but they are going to need twice the luck they had today to come out of the camp nou with anything but a loss.

          Trust me you’re overreacting. Come next tuesday after the game you will log on to this blog and say “Momo, you were right, I was a fool, I’m sorry I ever doubted you”

          • barca96
            April 18, 2012

            😆

            But I still think that we need at least 3 goals to advance and we, I mean Messi is not able to do that all by himself.

  22. G6O
    April 18, 2012

    I’m not in panic mode yet, but there are reasons to worry – 1-0 is a bad bad result, because if you let in a single goal at home, you need to score 3 to advance. And scoring three against nine Chelsea defenders in the box while not at all impossible, is certainly not a situation you want to be in. While they can definitely hurt us on the counter and score that away goal. Not a good result at all, but I still feel confident about our chances

  23. jordi™
    April 18, 2012

    I dont believe it is accommodating, its just what pep feels is making the most of limited resources.If Villa was fit and scoring goals and pep left him out to play Fabregas that would be accommodating.Its the same thing people were saying when villa was sitting out of games, then he finally plays and breaks his leg.no one knows what goes on behind the scenes but that never stops people from making sacrificial goats of certain players.We’ve moved on from Busquets only playing because he is Carles Busquets son and blaming him for the 3-1 defeat at inter.Then it was keita, sometimes maxwell and now this season its a new target.I don’t get it but whatever. Obviously we know more than who is spending every training session with these players.Im not saying it was the best lineup or the best performance but I cant comprehend the visceral attacks against a barca player.F*** cesc.Really? Because Football is not a team sport.

  24. mega_tajh
    April 18, 2012

    Hate when people mention Inter 2009. As we now know the team was going through some internal struggles with our star striker at the time,yet we still won our home leg and had a legal goal disallowed, while an offside Milito goal stood in the leg before.

    This team has never failed us in where they completely played horrible with no hope or urge in them.

    This Chelsea game simply put was not our day. From Alexis hitting the post so early on to Cesc fluffing a shot to that Pedro attempt that hit the post at the death. I see no signs as to why we can’t score 2 or more against Chelsea next week. The movement was there the passing was there, we even created more chances against a parked bus than we usually do.

    My only question is for the subs Pep made. Cesc as much as I love him was poor and should have been subbed for Pedro way earlier, turning back to our regular 4-3-3 and Iniesta back into midfield along with Xavi and Busi.

    Also why is it in the past two games now when losing Pep pulls Xavi?

  25. rightlps
    April 18, 2012

    Hi! New poster here..been reading this blog for a while…kudos to the people running it! really enjoying this website

    One comment about this game; if Barca have to constantly rely on a whole 180 minutes in such big games in order to pull a win, do we even have the slightest chance of winning in the finals in only 90 minutes?

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Answer to your comment, Yes, Unless you haven’t just started supporting you know this team rarely fails to deliver in finals. In fact only the copa del rey final last year comes to mind.

      • barca96
        April 18, 2012

        Welcome.

        Good question. I feel the same way.

        I guess that is how some people want to comfort themselves. Always thinking that we can beat anyone at home. But sometimes we gotta take care of business away from our comfort zone.

  26. TITO
    April 18, 2012

    I still dont know why do you think that we cannot score 2,3,4 against them? Because of our wastefulness? Im sure that we wont waste so many chances again. It was one in how many?
    If we create half of those at home, be sure that we will fill their net.

    • barca96
      April 18, 2012

      I dont have much belief that they can score 3 against Chelsea.

      Whatever happens, Messi needs to get a clear shot on goal cause the rest have a lower ratio of conversion.

      And in this match it was clear that the other players need way more chances before converting.

  27. nia
    April 18, 2012

    I’m now nervous for clasico. Both EE and Barca are coming of loses but, EE have 3 finishers on their team. If Messi doen’t perform again we’re screwed. EE look like they have more of a chance of going thru to the CL final coz of the away goal and they are more direct than us. I’m not so confident now coz, no away gol for us so Chelsea are definately going to play counter. Mou seemed very confident in his presser yesterday. After today, i don’t think our team is as confident. I could be wrong but, it looks all doom and gloom for me.

  28. Gogah
    April 18, 2012

    Match played out exactly as I imagined it – only difference being the 2 shots that hit the post, went in.

    Really upset and furious about
    – the time drogba spent face on grass
    – the millions of scuffed chances
    – cesc’s inability to pass the ball into an open net
    – pep’s insistence on playing cesc
    – the very realistic elimination we are facing

  29. Xavi6
    April 18, 2012

    Usually , I feel our wingers are afraid of dribbling past the FBs of the other teams coz they are afraid of losing possesion , and the expense of that is not having penetration from the flanks at all.
    I notice that sometimes the players have a very clear shooting oppurtunities , but they check up first if they can pass and end up losing the shooting angle.
    Also , We need the midfield players to shoot more from distance .

    Team must be more direct ,and balancing between keeping possession and taking some risks.

    We should have buried these aging team

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Agreed about the wingers, I thought Alexis would give us that kind of penetration but like Kxevin mentioned a few weeks ago, he caught the bug that new signings get when they come to barca, only messi can lose the ball. Every one else must keep posession.

      I guarantee you even if you brought Frank ribery and robben to this team it would not be any different in terms of penetration from the wings.

      60 something goals is a tremendous feat and accomplishment for Messi, but I think Pep needs to look at this as a potential weakness for the team that needs to be fixed. We need a change in mentality attacking wise, and a more balanced distribution of goals between our players.

  30. April 18, 2012

    This may be blasphemy, but am I the only person who thinks we are worse when Xavi is on the field? At least since the winter break?

    • April 18, 2012

      not entirely,

      we are worse when we are playing a team when we don’t need to try and keep possession. For instance today xavi wasn’t needed to orchestrate as Chelsea ceded possession to us, thus thiago (who offers more of an attacking thrust and can up the tempo) may have provided more.

      However, against say RM, where controlling midfield is a must xavi is key

    • barca96
      April 18, 2012

      Yeah but I still believed in him.

      But today for the 1st time I was actually happy to see him coming off.

      For the past few weeks I was in denial mode even though we looked better at tim

      Imes without him.

      • barca96
        April 18, 2012

        I feel so guilty. As if I commited a sin for saying that.

        Justin is spot on. Xavi is our defender in midfield. But not someone who is that useful anymore when we need to score against a bus parking team.

    • mega_tajh
      April 18, 2012

      I wouldn’t go as far as that, but this season in away games, stretching the field is more important more so than last. This is because our goals have tried on the wings making central play the only reliant way we can score.

      Xavi trait is those killer passes into the box but this season it has been to crowded since teams have shown little respect in defending our wing players. Before we had two goal scores like Villa and Pedro on the wings; teams needed to defend them leaving space for passes centrally into the box.

      Now we are seeing a Xavi playing higher up on the pitch, trying to be as influential like we are used to.

    • mic
      April 18, 2012

      I think you are right, for a several games now I have noticed that Xavi and Cesc do not mix together well. The whole team played better with combination Cesc, Thiago, Iniesta or Xavi, Iniesta, without Cesc.

  31. Xavi6
    April 18, 2012

    Sorry about the amount of criticism in my comments , but am really sad for losing after such domination.

  32. messifan
    April 18, 2012

    Tactics aside, scoring goals win you games. Other than Messi, no one is scoring consistently for us. Don’t know how we can resolve that in a week time.

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Already discussed above in the comments in great detail. Fabregas is essentially on par with Keita (if not slightly below) in terms of ball circulation. While he does bring occasional brilliance in the final third, our midfield play clearly suffers when he’s in midfield in a 4-3-3.

      I call it the “Cesc effect”. Where he tries to push up an make runs between the center backs causing messi to drop back to midfield to get the ball, minimizing Leo’s effectiveness and making us look like a slightly more organized Argentina NT (Shudder…).

      Tip of the diamond in a 3-4-3? I’ll have him any day.

      Midfield in a classic 4-3-3? I’d rather play there my self.

      • jordi™
        April 18, 2012

        Well I can accept your systematic argument.There is at least analysis there.Some people are talking about imaginary turnovers and pass accuracy though so those statistics are for them.The only thing is he was dis-possessed twice but its the same amount as sergio and xavi less than alexis messi , and those dis-possessions didn’t cost us a goal like Messi did.It wasnt one of those games where he only made 78% of passes.He had 92 and that is Barca standard.

  33. April 18, 2012

    Text from a mate who’s a Chelsea fan;

    “Phew! Cant believe we won that! You are going to destroy us at home though. Never seen Chelsea outplayed like that at he bridge. We got a whole season’s worth of luck in a single game… I am sure you will beat us next week. Maybe Messi gets injured vs Madrid ;)”

  34. April 18, 2012

    We had some excellent chances, particularly the Busquets miss at the end. It happens. It was just one of those nights.

    They didn’t get a shot off against us for the entirety of the second half. Yes, that’s the whole second half. As with Milan, Guardiola played a conservative match in their house, and we will kick out the jams at home. Of this I have full confidence.

    And that belief is despite somebody unfollowing me on Twitter because I called Fabregas in this match, “Shit Bag.” Because he was. So apparently I’m not a fan. Nonetheless, I believe in this club, in CL as with Liga, and will until it’s no longer possible. 😀

    • mega_tajh
      April 18, 2012

      +1 Join me on with you sir! The faces on the players and staff after the game and in the presser shows the attitude certain fans should adopt.

      From Pep after the game.
      Guardiola: “The challenge is to again have 24 shots on Tuesday like we had tonight, and then score from those.”

      Guardiola: “The winner is always right, so tonight Chelsea had the right tactics.”

      Guardiola: “Turning this tie around is a great challenge, and we accept the challenge, we’ll try to do it.

      Guardiola: “Second game will be similar, Chelsea with 10 men in the area, let’s see if we’re more inspired. It’s a nice challenge.”

      Pep admits to the defeat, no complains all, all we need is improvement which we certainly can. Despite the scoreline it was on of our better away UCL performance in terms of controlling the game and limiting the home team in chances. Better finishing and we are all sleeping like a fed baby tonight.

  35. NouBarca
    April 18, 2012

    Not too bad. But I would have left Cesc on the bench and played with the “best midfield in the world” and played Messi-Alexis-Cuenca. Iniesta is always “wasted” as LF and it also takes out a huge chunk from our midfield. I believe we will get whatever result we need on Tuesday

  36. providence
    April 18, 2012

    we lost yes we lost, this is football, u win some, u lose some, u draw some but its sad how people are using harsh words. why r u insulting and blaming fabregas? do u know what he means to our system? plus its our first season,please please cules, we lost and its gone,lets not stay in the past its time to focus on el clasico and then chelsea on tuesday. adversity tests loyalty cules (Kari). KEVIN come and say something cos we trust ur words.

  37. TITO
    April 18, 2012

    Against Milan we created less, at home and away, than we created today. That’s what makes me optimistic about our chances.
    Chelsea of today is not even near the Chelsea of 2009 including their defense. And we are much more experienced today than we were in 2009. One thing i miss though, and that is Eto’o :(, especially when he got the balls to take the opponent, dribble and do something on its own, instead of just trying to pass it to Messi.
    If we played them 100 times like this, we would have prevailed in 99 of those matches. I just hate when people don’t appreciate that they were outplayed and only our waste of luck brought the result that it is. But that’s what it means to be a fan, just accept the result and go on with it.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 18, 2012

      against Milan, we did get a draw, no they have a victory, just need to defend like today, take their one chance and we are out of it

      • April 18, 2012

        No actually if they defend like they did today they will lose because had we finished our chances it would be 4-1. They have to defend MUCH better than they did today and create more than the one chance we practically gifted to them.

        If they come to the Nou Camp and play like they did today I have no worries. Let them park the bus, we broke it 6 times at their stadium so we will crush it at ours.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          April 18, 2012

          it is no use to break the bus if you can not finish, and apart from Messi at the moment nobdoy can finish

  38. Jim
    April 18, 2012

    It’s amazing how we start to doubt ourselves at the slightest setback. We controlled this game from start to finish, made countless chances and this in a rainstorm on a tight pitch against a very physical team with a decent defence who were set up well. No way can that be an awful performance.

    does that mean we will win next week.? No, but it will be harder for Chelsea to defend the wide open spaces, we have our crowd behind us and it’s unlikely we’ll be so poor in our finishing. And that’s what swung this game. It wasn’t Pep’s fault. The team he put on the park created enough good chances to be 3 ahead. It wasn’t Xavi’s fault. He ran the possession game in a tight midfield, didn’t put a foot wrong.and if he didn’t deliver any of the devastating passes, fine. He will another time. At the other end we threw away a goal down largely to positioning. Messi lost the ball with 6 or 7 of our players goal side. The goal had nothing to do with him other than that it put Masch at a disadvantage as the move started. After that I come back to what I’ve said time and again. He can’t resist chasing out after the ball. Puyol was marking Masch’s man but when the play went out to Puyol’s side he was always the one who would try to close it down leaving Masch enough time to get back. Still, to be fair you’d also have to say Xavi was slow getting back on the right, the ball was lucky in that Masch slipped as it passed him and VV could have done better with a poorish finish.

    However, I was struck by some aspects of the match.

    Cesc looked a bit nervous out there. Don’t know why but the dream isn’t going well atm. I do think pep is right to persevere with him as he has the ability but it may be that until he really finds his feet he is better used when in the spaces of the Camp Nou.

    We are wasting Iniesta’s talent.

    On the plus side, Pedro is back ! That strike on the post was sheer class and emphasises for me the difference between a real goal scorer and someone who snatches. Not hating in any way on alexis who is giving us effort in abundance but I’ll say again he’s not a natural goalscorer and Pedro is. I’d still rather see Alexis freed up to take on FBs.

    Our big problem now is that the massive effort required to beat RM will leave us knackered. If we win the next two this side is superhuman. However, either way – when was the last time you felt that we were beaten by a better team? Really, when? How many sides could say that ?

    Final thought. I was pretty sure when we heard nothing that Pep had decided to stay. looking at him tonight and with those two big games coming up he is going to be in a pretty bad mental state. Hope he doesn’t do anything rash.

    very last thought. Any word on Messi’s fitness?

    • Momo
      April 18, 2012

      Also will Alexis ever attempt to dribble past a full back again?

  39. cliveee
    April 18, 2012

    Fabregas wasn’t bad. He screwed up the poach just once or twice more than other strikers. Blame the same for Alexis, Pedro and Messi if you want to be fair.

    The problem is that he was in sleep mode for a while and then he would show up with a good pass or in good position to score. I also wanna watch it again to see how did those chances came by. I am sure Cesc did create a couple of good ones.

    Messi had some good runs, but one huge mistake to let them score the only goal with their only shot on target. Also, if you know they are gonna block, do some more fakes perhaps? Well, it’s hard to argue, but Messi basically got shut out by Chelsea. With three defenders around you, you could only get the ball in midfield like he did. But when you are in the danger zone, playing a pass or two could make things even more dangerous. I miss the Messi who would give assists tonight.

    Nonetheless, I thought it was a good game. Exciting to watch at least. Especially in the dying moments of the game, we almost pulled a Pedroazo or Buquestazo or Fabregazo…. well, I am pretty optimistic.

    Cheer up, guys!

    • Jim
      April 18, 2012

      Dribbling always carries a high risk of losing the ball. If you’re going to blame Messi for dribbling in their half of the field then you’re going to lose about 40 goals a season. Still 6 or 7 of our players goal side. It was how we didn’t handle the move that cost us.

  40. cliveee
    April 18, 2012

    Noted on Twitterland and will ask the same here: Bartra, not Tello?

    Fearlessness could sometimes produce something, heh? Tello could be our wild card, but it might not be bad to save it until they come to our house.

  41. Jim
    April 18, 2012

    There has been a lot of talk about our need for width. I agree in general terms but it’s not the width it’s what you do with it. If all you’re going to do is have crosses blocked by the first man it’s not gonna help. If you’re gonna lift it it’s not gonna help against Chelsea. To me, the wide man ( Dani, Alexis, Cuenca) rather than slow things down need to take a good first touch that takes them towards the FB and commit them, a bit like the Bayern goal last night. Don’t mind losing it there. You can’t be risk averse in their final third.

  42. April 18, 2012

    You can see why Guardiola didn’t start with them, but notice how dangerous we got once we started getting width from Cuenca, and midfield dynamism from Thiago. Now you can see why he subbed them in instead of starting with them, but there you go. That’s why every coach loves to have the away leg first, because the goal is not to screw the pooch so badly that you can’t get it back at home. We have done that. 1 goal is nothing. If we created that many chances at their house (and a simple miscommunication between Mascherano and Puyol, both firemen was the problem with the Drogba goal), imagine what we’re going to do at home.

    Bring it on. But first, we have a small matter of a Clasic to tend to. One grudge at a time, in other words.

  43. Humphrey Bogart
    April 18, 2012

    the sad thing is that we might have lost to opportunity to make history, not so much for us fans, but for our players like Xavi or Iniesta who could enter the pantheon of the all time greats if we would have been able to do what nobody did before: to defend the CL title. They would be untouchable with that, their EURO And WC Crown.

    But is our own fault that chances for that to happen are slim now, we have no away goal and are therefore on the backfoot(big difference to Arsenal game last year), they just have to defend like today, take their chance like they did today and we are out and with that the chance to achieve true greatness

    • April 18, 2012

      Good lord you are pessimistic. See my post above. They didn’t defend that well today, we just didn’t take our chances. We will at home and we will create more chances. Have faith.

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      On any other day we would have had 2 or 3 goals.Think back to when Madrid beat us in the copa final suffocating us with Pepe in midfield.They thought they had the solution and we promptly beat them the next time we met and the times after that.All that needs to happen is making sure we get messi on the end of chances since we cant trust anyone but pedro or xavi to make a natural finish.

    • sd
      April 18, 2012

      6 Ligas each, 3 Champions league each, 2 Club World Cups, Copa del Rey, World Cup, Euro each. Being the core and philosophy of the two greatest teams in the history of football (Spain and Barcelona). I think they have already entered the pantheon. There aren’t many that have that resume.

  44. mega_tajh
    April 18, 2012

    To Note around this time in 2011, Villa was also misfiring in front of goal. He had what, a streak of 9 games before a goal last season around now. It wasn’t until he got that 2 week rest break from La Liga to the Champions League Final did we start noticing the Villa we saw earlier that season.

    The same also happened to Ibra in 2010, when he was misfiring even before the supposed spat with Pep and now the same with Cesc. Have to say maybe its just a burn out pattern in the 2nd half of the season with new players in our system.

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      Not just new signings.Remember the same thing happened to Eto’o.He went 2 months or more without a goal until the cl final.In reality having all of our attacking options fit would have let pep keep them fresh by rotation but injuries ended that.

    • sd
      April 18, 2012

      I think its partly the reason. No team plays and trains as much as Barcelona and a player from another team will not be able to continue like that for a whole year with Barca. Its very similar to the rookie wall in the NBA where rookies around Feb; where the games accumulated over the year becomes same as the year before in college, loose their productivity and take some time to recover. At this level being a step behind is a huge deal.

  45. Ahmad
    April 18, 2012

    I don’t know what it is, but I think Xavi has been sort of a setback to our offensive display. As soon as he went off and Cuenca came on, we started looking more dangerous. He has been trying to play it too safe and though I do understand his job as a distributor and someone who can change the tempo to his liking, I really wouldn’t mind playing without him and going for a more direct approach like we did against Bilbao two or so weeks ago.
    Anyone got any thoughts on this?

    • jordi™
      April 18, 2012

      Its true to an extent, in that he isn’t raising the tempo but I wouldn’t be too harsh.As I said, behind the scenes he might be carrying injury problems like villa.We never know so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • Nik
      April 18, 2012

      In regards to Xavi:

      It looked like he was playing it safe today because that’s what Pep wanted him to do. It’s Pep’s usual strategy during the first leg: don’t take too many risks, keep the other team from burying the tie in the first leg, and come finish the tie at home. I guarantee if Pep thought we had a better chance of winning games by playing more directly, he would instruct Xavi to do so. And Xavi, being the professional he is, would listen. So if Xavi is playing the way that he is, I can only assume that’s what Pep wants, and in Pep I trust.

      Also, I’m pretty sure that Chelsea’s defending wasn’t as good by the time Cuenca had come on. The amount of space that was available between the lines seemed bigger than it was earlier on in the game. I attribute that to the Chelsea defenders getting mentally and physically worn down by Xavi’s patient orchestration of the ball movement.

  46. mom4
    April 18, 2012

    BShared a hug of comiseration with the Madridista at bowling. #dontjudgeme. The ManU fan giggled at us. We decided we aren’t gonna take any more crap from him as his team left the dance a long time ago. Actually, it’s kinda cool to find several soccer fans in one place here in the US. There’s also a woman wearing an LA Galaxy jersey tonight. I don’t think she counts. I blame the droid and the cosmos for typos. Cosmos make losses more bearable.

  47. MemoryLane
    April 18, 2012

    What a pitiful joke, it’s shocking how one team right out the gate at home can be of such an inferior mind, I thought Milan were bad…
    Chelsea is going to be hailed as heroes for that cowardice performance and Drogba should be off the field can you imagine if a Barcelona player acted like that. The English would be furious.

    On a serious note… This has nothing to do with Chelsea’s game plan stifling Barcelona, Barcelona played right into Chelsea’s hand. You would thought they’d learn from Milan and stop attacking so narrow and use the width and strecth them.

    Pep takes the blame for this you can’t compromise Iniesta’s role for Fabregas who was terrible and has been for a few months now.
    Iniesta is not a winger he’s wasted on on the left, had Pep played Iniesta in the middle with Xavi and Pedro on the left or Cuenca Barcelona win.

    Messi dropping deep because Barcelona are playing with a man down with Fabregas on the field. SMH.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 18, 2012

      have to agree this line up was a serious failure on pep’s part, which costs us dearly

  48. providence
    April 18, 2012

    We need words of encouragement n not wat was fabregas doing on the pitch,not fuck u fabregas. Those dissing him shdnt forget. d elclassico goal he scored,he is our second best assist, his goal at Bilbao… oh Catalan let’s not be quick to forget,even he had a good game than xavi

  49. MiZa
    April 18, 2012

    Sometimes results are the residue of luck.

    Barca decides to play the way they do. This produces a bushel of scoring chances for us, and one or two scoring chances for the other team. If ours don’t go in, but their one chance does, this is not a flaw in our design. This is a result of our design.

    Don’t you think that any sober team would take all of Barca’s scoring chances vs the one shot on goal Chelsea had (which, had it gone a foot to the left, VV would’ve saved)?

  50. providence
    April 18, 2012

    …and I dun think any body knows better than pep does wen it comes to line up.berating ABA d past game blaming our coach n players for the loss wudnt help let’s discuss ways we can win elclasicco n d return leg

  51. We created so many chances at their home, but our finishing disappointed us.. Cesc and Alexis, what’s up with your finishing, guys? My goodness!

    And it’s not over until it’s over.. 90 minutes in Camp Nou.. Of course to get 2-0 or (if they score) 3-1 is gonna be hard to achieve but it’s possible..

    Remember Chelsea lost 3-1 to Napoli and need to get at least 2-0 at SB, and look where they are now..

    Ugh, how about we score 2-0, and then in injury time they score and make it 2-1.. Talk about a perfect revenge 😕

    • rohitv16
      April 19, 2012

      Messi won’t leave it at 2-0 😀 He’ll decide the tie.. 🙂

  52. Brosep
    April 18, 2012

    I do not understand the value of Iniesta on the left wing! I can’t think of a single time it proved a good use of talents (although watching him smoke Gary Cahill rocked). Does anyone understand why he is played there?

    • rohitv16
      April 19, 2012

      I guess it’s something to do with playing the best possible XI and gaining midfield control with Cesc in the MF. Villa’s injury also doesnt help. Today though I felt Pep went for Andres on the wing expecting a traditional Chelsea 4-4-1-1 but instead Chelsea played with almost 3 holding players in the MF which would’ve been better exploited if we played Cuenca or an in form Pedro on the wings.. but then, Pep’s playing safe in the away legs and makes sense being conservative as we can take the tie home and bury the opposition at home 🙂

  53. Peterj
    April 19, 2012

    Haha bandwagon fans coming outta their shells…visca barca

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