Barcelona – Chelsea: CL Semi Liveblog II

Pep has sent out as close to a classic 3-4-3 as possible with our current squad, and Alves has had to make way. Let’s hope for some Camp Nou magic.

Starting XI: Valdes, Puyol, Mascherano, Pique, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Sanchez, Messi, Cuenca

Bench: Pinto, Alves, Adriano, Keita, Thiago, Pedro, Tello

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


The match is at 2:45 EST. Don’t be late


  1. Hmmm no Alves in the lineup interesting from Pep.

    This is our 3-3-4 formation right?

    1. It looks to me like a 3-4-3, but it could easily be a 3-3-4.

      The key will be where Cuenca is playing. If he is on the left it will be a 3-4-3 with Sanchez on the right. If he is playing on the right Iniesta will move forward to play left wing and Sanchez and Messi will both play through the middle in a 3-3-4.

      Expect to see them switch between the two.

    2. I think its the usual midfield 3 with Cuance-Messi-Cesc-Alexis making up the 4 in front. With of course either Cesc or Messi sometimes dropping a bit deep,

  2. Yeah Zonal Marking made the point that this is the same team as the second leg Milan one, except Sanchez in for Alves. And that game was definitely a 3-3-4.

    1. I was wondering, Alexis did play on the left already this season and scored a couple fantastic goals from there, so why not Alexis on the left and Alves on the right (despite people saying he did bad against EE there).

    2. Alves is not a winger. He is best when he is able to start his runs from deeper and dominate the right flank with his energy. Playing him as a winger clips his wings. And yes, he was poor there against EE.

    3. But I hope we all remember that 2-0 win over EE in their house with a Pedro-Messi-Alves front-line, in which was the first time we saw Alves in that advanced position and he did fairly well that game.

      Early on Alves did cause major problems for EE this weekend gone. His hustling did create a chance in which Iker was perfect in stopping. Only problem was it was a 3 man back-line this time around and not the 4 where Alves had someone covering him in that win 2 years ago.

  3. Anyone see similarities in Cesc’s predicament with that of Ibra’s a couple of years back?

    Anyway, lets do this!

    1. You know what’s ridiculous? I started writing an article called “Is Cesc this season’s Ibrahimovic?” last week but never had time to actually work on it.

      Scoring slump in second half of the season – check
      Unsure where he best fits in the system – check
      Playing him forces substantial tradeoffs for the system – check
      Dividing fan opinion and becoming a scapegoat to some – check

    2. Villa from last season, Ibra from year before, Eto’o also before the Rome UCL final.

      All happened before till they all bounced back with that 2 weeks rest and score in the Champions League Final. (well except Ibra of course)

  4. Hectored mercilessly .

    Not a bad lineup. Don’t mind Alves not being there – his play has been patchy – but I do worry if Masch is playing centrally in the back three. He has to be either side. I’d rather play four at the back with cover for whoever is marking Drogba and the spare man ( hopefully Pique) carrying the ball towards the heart of their defence. It’s at times like this I wish he had had more matches.

    I’d rather have seen Pedro than Cuenca but if he can beat Cole in a dribble or get his crosses past the first man then Pep will have called it correctly. He has the skill. However, he won’t finish as well as Pedro or Tello I’m thinking.

    Whatever, we need to take our chances tonight. If we do that we’re through.

    On another note, Just watching Ronnie putting them to the sword. I miss Ronnie 🙁

    1. If Cuenca is doing his job right he should almost never be central enough to shoot, let alone be in a place to finish.

  5. Looks like the perfect line-up. The three man defense will give a better option in dealing with aerial ball to Drogba. BUt has to be very careful with possession as any loose ball will expose us to danger on counter through wings

  6. Cuenca is also the best crosser in our team from out wide, plus unlike dani he can go outside the fullback.Was pretty annoying to see that lahm a less accomplished dribbler than dani, could get the better of Coentrao and Dani didnt really try.

  7. Well, according to the infinately knowledgeable Fox Soccer Channel talking heads it’s surprising that Valdes is competent to tie his own cleats and Chelsea should be feeling good about the lineup Pep has picked. We’ll see.

    1. They’re pretty awful. They spent time saying how Messi needs Xaviniesta in order to score, then went to say that Alves gave Messi more assists. Wait, what? And as I’m typing they made another swipe at Valdes! Ugh.

  8. I DON’T UNDERSTAND!!! How could we let them counter w/only extra time remaining???? I’m screaming inside! You MUST be aware that your 2-1 up. 1st half is ending in a min. Keep possession and continue next half. POOR. Poor by Xavi. Forcing a pass that isn’t there. Then isn’t able to close down Ramieres who keeps making the run??? No one decides to pick him up? What is that? I’m just perplexed. I have faith we’ll score another 1 if not 2 or 3 but C’MON

  9. Drogba is such a joke. I love how a guy 6 inches shorter than him takes him down so easily and Messi won’t go down when a guy is 12 inches taller than him! Hilarious but should be carded for time wasting

  10. Whether we had won or lost today, this is my last liveblog this season.

    Sorry guys, but the negativity, the name calling, and the overall atmosphere has been horrible the last 3 games.

  11. Well..we did our best and congrats to Chelsea for playing their hearts out!
    I’m still proud of our boys.

  12. Seemed like a handball that started the Torres goal, but I guess that’s how it goes.

    I hope Pique is ok.

  13. Commentators saying “end of cycle”. I don’t believe that. I hope Pep today in the presser says that he’s gonna renew his contract. We are still proud of being cules and I’m behind the club, this team and its technical staff. People chanting the hymn. This is not Valdebebas. We are here until the end.
    Visca el Barça!

    1. Its not the end.But its a worse feeling than going out to inter.We had everything we needed today and yet…:(

  14. Don’t think I’ve felt this shitty before.

    Now I hope Chelsea goes on to win the thing.

    Visca Barca

  15. the most embarrassing loss ever in my 16-17 years as a fan

    Chelsea lost their captain, went a man down, conceded a penalty but yet we can’t beat them.
    What did our players do in the whole of 2nd half? Pass the ball side to side, side to side. They probably thought it was a game of keeping the ball.
    Take a bloody shot you asses..

    1. wtf?

      Don’t you think it’s just incredibly hard to score against a team that defends like that?
      They defended like Inter did. We still won the match. Both matches. But not with a big enough margin.

      You wrong Barca, no other team had to play against such a defensive team. When Arsenal play Chelsea, when AC played Inter, whatever – they never defended as resolute as they did against us.
      It’s practically impossible to get a shot from distance through that 6 + 3 man wall!
      The sad thing is that these kind of matches show, in the end, even the best attacking team finds it almost impossible to break down a perfectly organised, fully destructive and defensive team.

      The way how Chelsea played is against my worldview. I don’t even know if I should support them in a possible final against Madrid. At least, Madrid dares to play against us.
      Hopefully Bayern goes through, then my decision will be much easier!

    2. Yeah, there were quite a few times I screamed, “SHOOT the ball” Alves was completely ineffective today. Does he know there’s a endline or does the pitch stop at the box? Chelsea also lost both CB. Unreal

  16. Can you lose in a more bitter and devastating way, considering our chances including 4 times woodwork in both matches?

    I don’t think so.

    Feel so devastated right now. Crying, weeping. Gotta somehow find some sleep, tomorrow is a difficult exam. But I cannot think about that at all right now 🙁

    Visca el Barca.

  17. It happens guys, Chelsea deserved it over the two legs, not like they cheated their way to the final or anything. We lost, so we come back strong next year. Visca Barca!

  18. Well played Chelsea – altho I’m starting to think MAYBE Pep got lucky with an awesome set of players & maybe isn’t that good a coach after all..?

    1. Sorry, gonna have to disagree. WHat Pep has done with this team is absolutely incredible. He changed the dressing room, Messi’s position on the field, and gave us everything we have today. We are missing some key players. I’m gutted. I mean sick, but in no way will I blame Pep or think he’s not that good. He’s great and I pray he stays. All we need to do is acquire some key players at key positions. We’ll be fine. Back next year for more GLORY! Visca Barca!

  19. simply stunned.

    in my heart, though, i’m still so amazed and proud of this team.

    (but no watching any footy coverage for the rest of the season – everyone will be talking about chelsea beating barca and i don’t want to hear it.)

    thanks, y’all, for being here.

  20. When we lost last week, most of you guys here said we can score at home. We haven’t done that against Chelsea nor Madrid. WHat now?

    Stop trying to hide the fact that we aren’t good enough, to score goals at least.

    1. But we did. The problem was with one man up front they scored two against us. Probably not a good time for any of us to be posting as we are not at our most rational 🙂

    2. Obviously I know Chelsea scored even though it’s 5am here but what I meant was, it’s not enough to win or to go through.

    3. Hey man! Thats awesome. You had no belief in your team and you were absolutely right. I should have listened to you! Great work!

      It doesn’t matter what the result ends up being and yes we shouldn’t hide the flaws. We should be critical but having no belief in your own team and players that have given you so much is completely uncalled for. Players make mistakes. Coaches make mistakes. We have come to expect that Barca must win every competition because of this unprecedented success that THIS coach and THIS team have given you. Being with them when they are doing great is not as important as it is when they are down. Having belief that they will turn it around is an important part of being a fan. Having reservations and being critical is one thing but having the attitude of “I told you we were going to loose and I was right” is completely ridiculous. I wonder how you felt about Rijkaard in his first four months or when Barca din’t win anything for six years. Semi-finalists for 5 years in a row, second place to the best Madrid team ever and in the Copa final is fine with me. Maybe it isn’t with you. But you’ll be disappointed a lot at this rate.

    4. I like what you said SD but c’mon, it was obvious that the players were not able to score 3.

      That is probably the only time I had no belief in this squad. Have never questioned Pep’s players selection or went on a witch hunt on one of our players (Villa, Keita, Cesc the famous ones) for years now.

      Having watched and played football for 17 years now, I just had a feeling you know.

      Of course I still hoped and prayed for them to win but I just was 99% confident that they were not going to score 3 goals past Chelsea in a circumstance where Chelsea didn’t have to score and that is like what I also predicted, Chelsea will score, happened.

    5. Having watched football for 17 years now you should realize that football is like this. Shit happens and you shouldn’t get so distraught about it. You have also seen then what a real lack of hunger team (Rijkaard’s last season) is like. You will also know what a sub par team (early 2000s) is like. And you will also know how hard this team and these guys have worked for a long long time for a football player. Because of all this you should be grateful and not so distraught.

  21. Calvin we didn’t get to thank you for the LB, so thank you.
    what happened today was…., i don’t know what was that, and of all the people Torres who couldn’t score a goal to save his life scores against us, oh the irony.
    What a way to end a season that was until 4 days ago so promising, now pep can start focusing on next season plans.
    The boys need to rest, B teamers to get more playing time from here on.

    1. yes, thanks to Calvin,

      and many many thanks to Pep and the players.

      hope Pique is ok,

      and you know next year will look different – just gotta figure out a way to blow up the buses teams keep parking in front of the goal.

  22. Proud of the boys regardless!

    Well done Chelsea you’ve earned it…

    One of the most dramatic games I’ve ever seen…

    Let the overblown reactions begin…

    1. I’d agree with that choice of word. From their point of view they certainly did earn it. Wouldn’t agree they deserved it.

    1. We gotta thank Pep for that for overburning him.

      You want to stay for the whole match Messi?
      Ok do whatever you like as long as you’re happy.

  23. Wow, I’m so gutted. This hurts more than I thought. I can’t believe w/a man advantage we couldn’t get it done. I’m sick. Congrats to Chelsea. They were unreal defensively. Yes it’s negative football, but they got it done. We didn’t. Yes Messi missed a penalty, but I’m not even sure that was a penalty. On a 2nd angle it looked like Cesc dove. That’s the footballing gods equaling things up. I hope they go on to get their crown so at least we can say we were knocked out by the champs i.e. Inter. I’m still fuming that we gave up a goal in extra time or right before when we just went on a rampage. Obviously, changed the whole game. Chelsea could sit back and defend and we couldn’t get thru the middle. Why we continued to go thru the middle and not down the flanks I have no idea, but we did. So many things that I can point to. Looks like it was to big a game for Cuenca as well. I.E. Tello, in Clasico. Very surreal feeling. I just felt so good about this game and when we went 2-0 up, I thought, “Here we go, how many are we going to get?”. Then BAM! Bad pass, unable to close down ball. Quick outlet and no marks ramieres. ARGGGGH!

  24. Guys… I wanna cry 🙁

    Anyone have possession stats for the game?

    Also, I want David Villa, back, like, yesterday.

    Anyone else see us launching long balls to Puyol in the minute at the end? Gave me a bit of amusement at least.

    This comment feels aimless. I feel aimless. Visca Barca!

    1. One more thing:

      As someone who just started following the team this season, this is not what I jumped on the bandwagon for! Freaking sports. Just kidding, of course, and I’m not giving up on this team now because they’ve captured my heart. I love this team, even right now while it’s killing me.

  25. I almost cancelled my holiday to Hong Kong in May because it clashes with the Final but there is no need for that.

    Not going to watch Barca anymore this season except the final. No more waking up at 3am for me. These boys dont deserve it. No hunger. It’s a freaking SEMI GOD DAM FINAL, not a training drill to see who can keep the ball the longest.

    Messi lost his Ballon D’or tonight.

    1. A little harsh but the planning for this season pretty much set the tone of what we are now enduring.

      Buying players we didn’t specifically need right away (Cesc), neglecting our defensive problems and relying on youth players we never heard about this season so soon.

    2. I’m sure the team will be so gutted that you’re not going to watch them anymore this season.

    3. C’mon bud. Are u serious? They deserve our love and undying support. At least that’s how I feel. We need to pick them up after this past week. It’s not like they weren’t trying or there was no effort. Chelsea parked the bus and we couldn’t get thru…well, not really. We scored 2 goals! On a parked bus. That’s incredible. We just gave up a silly goal. Pep needs to buy a couple defenders. Maybe another striker, but Villa will be back next year. I think he’ll be fantastic next year. As will Pedro. The hunger will be there just as it has been, if not more. Maybe Messi did lose the Ballon D’Or. WHO CARES? He’s still the best footballer on this EARTH. I don’t need an award to confirm it. I doubt he or his teammates and coach do either. I watch Barca and support Barca b/c I bleed Barca. You need to appreciate what we’ve been given the last few years. INCREDIBLE. I hope you cheer up. I understand the feeling. But like it’s been said. Keep some perspective

    4. “…These boys dont deserve it. No hunger….”

      “Messi lost his Ballon D’or tonight”

      My word…

    5. Thanks Messiah10.

      Momo, playing passes sideways for 45mins doesn’t really look like they have the hunger to score.

      Messi lost his Ballon D’or by being a big match bottler for the past 3 matches, 3 BIGGEST matches of the season.

      Whether you or I like it or not, of course I would love him to win it, but you can only win it if you win trophies. Yes we won Supercopa, CWC and all but they don’t measure up against Ronaldo’s league trophy and he might go far in CL and EC2012 too.

  26. When we conceded that stupid goal late in the first half, I had that 10 man Inter deja vu feeling.

    1. Same here. I said no no no no. No matter how dirty Terry was let him stay because we can never seem to beat a team with 10 men.

  27. Gutted.. that’s how i feel. We lost the la liga and the champions league in a space of 4 days..:(

    Maybe it was not meant to be. We hit the post 4 times that tells a lot about our attack, but our defense.. was all over the place. This season our El Capita has been getting beaten for pace match after match.. we are so thin behind … that yeah our asses are all visible..

    But next season Villa will be back..and I am sure we will invest in a new defender.

    This is not the end of an Era.. but just the starting of a new one.. we will be back stronger faster and will go higher next season..

    Visca Barca…!!

    1. You should watch the semi final first leg.. and the Classico again. He has the heart I know.. but he’s getting old…

      And what is up with Messi these days.. for the past few matches.. his runs into the box is just not there.. he’s been playing more in the middle..

      Alright some sense now.. i need to get sane… no team can go year after year playing at the same level… I need to get real.. and that’s the truth…

    2. I have – I’m sad enough to watch every game twice although I didn’t manage the classico and I’ve not seen what you have. What I would say though is that the three man defence has been suicide for us this season and Puyol, like the rest, isn’t at his best in that formation.

    3. The key to a 3 man back line is speed. El Capitan has lost a step this year. Maybe more towards the end of the season. It’s clear. When he’s tracking back at full pace to cover an offensive player w/the ball at his feet and still can’t get in front of him…that’s losing a step considering the ABSURD standard he’s set. He is getting up there. Last year I was trying to think who could step up for him should he call it quits soon. I’m not sure. Masch is the obvious choice now, but not last year. Xavi & Puyol are getting up there. They are going to need to be managed carefully next season. More games off for sure. It’s interesting, but as I’m typing this, I just thought that I bet Lampard, Terry, and Cole benefited from AVB sitting them a lot this year. You can quantify it, but I think so.

  28. We conceded.Twice.To ten men.One was by Torres.

    I might have to wipe this from memory.

    1. I’m actually really happy for Fernando. He has gone thru so much the past 2 years. Worst form for a striker I’ve seen. Confidence shot. Still playing great though. Making fantastic passes and runs. Giving 100%. If anyone deserved a goal it was him. I hope he goes on to score a few more before the end of the year and maybe, just maybe, get a place in the Euros. Doubt VDB will call him up but you never know. Congrats Fernando. You earned it!

  29. you win some you lose some..thats sport people..dont get too angry just because of this..3 years of winning almost everything, this team deserve the support of the fans in time like this..well, im gonna go to sleep hoping this is just a bad least, no manita at camp nou tho

  30. So now we plan for next year, A CB, an LB, and maybe someone for the front that might be over 5’7″?

    Will be fun to watch a little restructuring. Some evolution in sports is necessary to keep the competition on its toes.

    Please remember in the comments, y’all.
    We love this team. We love this club. We are extremely disappointed. BUT THE TEAM IS COMPRISED OF HUMAN BEINGS who have had to play 3 games in 7 day and got very far in all competitions… AND
    IT’S JUST A GAME! The sun rises tomorrow.

  31. The team get’s wonderful praises when they win, now they lose so I don’t see a problem in addressing the problems. And what I said were facts.

    -Messi not enough rest.
    -Team cant score 3 against Chelsea.
    -Team passing sideways endlessly.
    -Can’t win even though Chelsea lost a captain, played with 10men for the whole 2nd half, conceded a penalty.

    I apologize if I offended someone but don’t tell me that those aforementioned points above were off the mark.

    I’ve been a fan for 16 years and Ive never had the joy to witness a team that is so complete as this. Simply no excuse for under performing like this. So excuse me if I am dissappointed at them.

    They jsut didn’t work hard enough to go through even though with all the talent they have. That is the worst part.

  32. Positive news of the day:
    – Barca players (and especially the Spanish internationals) get at least some rest more before the Euro. Go for the EC, WC, EC triple champion – something that has never been achieved before as far as I know

    Good news to remind you of:
    -Messi will have a whole 6, 7 or even 8 weeks to regenerate

    Question of the day:
    -Will the CdR final be preponed?

  33. Well we still have the Copa del rey final to play. Football is like life, you can’t win forever. Do your best Barcelona!

  34. I had a feeling Messi would miss the PK. He’s been shaky from the spot all season and I never feel very confident with him. Everyone knows he’s going right.

    All of those close misses and hit posts are definitely going to give Barca nightmares. Sanchez was super wasteful, though played well defensively and in possession.

    Regardless, that Ramires counter was soooo crucial. It meant they could basically play super deep with 6 at the back and 3 shielding them for long stretches. People here are complaining about not being able to find a way through on the wing, but you can’t exactly waltz through a super compact block of 10 players, especially when you factor in their strength and height advantages.

    Chelsea played intelligently, to their strengths, and took their chances. I’m a Barcelona fan, but I can’t say they didn’t deserve what they got. Props to them.

    This has not been Barcelona’s year, but I fully expect them to be back challenging for multiple championships next year, and that is all I can ask for as a fan.

  35. To create so many chances and hit so much woodwork over 2 legs and lose to 2 breakaway goals (Torres’ 3rd didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things) is unfortunate, team missed a cutting edge in front of goal (David Villa perhaps…?) and Messi is lucky he’s the best player in the world – his penalty miss and giving the ball away in the first leg proved too costly in the end.

  36. Get well soon Pique!! But not too soon. I’m almost positive he has a concussion and coming back too quickly from that would be disastrous.

  37. Losing sucks, but as long as Pep renews, this doesn’t matter. We’ll shore up our team and try again next year 🙂

  38. Heartbroken, but I think a little perspective is good right now. This team doesn’t owe us anything after what they’ve done the last few years. Now in a crisis, we need to love and support them more than ever, even and especially after awful games like today’s.

    We’re exhausted, our squad is thin, and we were hit by devastating injuries. Losing Abidal and Villa was completely disastrous for our season. Messi has played virtually every single game for all 90 minutes and has scored over 60 goals while no one else has broken 20. But Villa will get healthy again, Abidal’s operation was a success, and that is what is really important. We have the summer to work out or squad issues, and I really don’t think Pep is leaving us just yet.

    We’re fans of the most beautiful team in the world with the most amazing players and coach, who have been ridiculously successful. Losing is part of football. We are lucky and blessed to be fans of this club. Visca el Barça, always.

    1. Obviously we still love and support them but I don’t see anything wrong in calling out their mistakes.

      After all, it’s not like the team will get affected by anything we say unlike the fans in Barcelona itself.

      We are lucky in a sense that we can show our emotions without hurting the players.

  39. Don’t you think it’s just incredibly hard to score against a team that defends like that?
    They defended like Inter did. We still won the match. Both matches. But not with a big enough margin.

    It is hard, yes but only if they still insist on playing 1-2’s, dribbling through the defenders, crossing the ball knowing that there are 9 big and tall men waiting there.

    We had the ball at the edge of the box a lot of times so why not just try your luck and shoot. Messi hit the post.
    I thought others would follow but no….
    The ball could take a wicked deflection and went in or rebounded back to our player.

    You gotta take some risks.

    I know you made an error in the heat in the moment but we drew.

  40. In total over the course of 2 legs, Chelsea had 3 shots on target and all resulted in a goal.

    Its either
    a) Chelsea’s attack is so lethal
    b) Our defense (defenders and VV) are just too error prone.

    1. Or they just took their chances? If I’m recalling the Super Copa correctly we were nearly as clinical as Chelsea was. Sometimes the shots go in. There are always more than two reasons for a result, often many more.

    2. Victor could have done better on both ramires and drogba goals but remember last time we only stayed in the tie in 2009 because of his saves on drogba.I guess it will drive them to do better next time.If we feel so shit i can only imagine how the players feel right now.

    3. There was a movie in 2004 or 2005 about the Boston Red Sox team.

      After the Red Sox lost a World Series match vs. Yankees, they went out to have dinner just like on a normal day.

      I know it’a movie but it could be the case for some players.

    4. Really? Amazing comeback by them to beat Yankees.

      Don’t know the name but it starred Drew Barrymore and this comedian Jimmy Fallon.

      I really wished Barca could pull of something similar by winning the league and CL but they failed to rise to the occassion.

    5. Sounds like you’re talking about Fever Pitch. I thought you meant a documentary about the team.

      An incredible comeback indeed, the best in any sport that I’ve ever seen. You’re right, it would have been glorious if Barca could have gone on a run to win the Liga or the CL. But, as every good Sox fan knows: there’s ALWAYS next year!

    6. The Red Sox could never play the Yankees in a World Series b/c they’re both from the American League and in the same Division. So, either 1 wins Division and the other wins Wild Card berth into playoffs. Yes, I know you know, but had to point that out 🙂

    7. Haha…call me crazy, but I was thinking of us getting him in January when he didn’t look like scoring for Chelsea. I thought he had a good work ethic and really changed his style to suit the team. Anyway, I hope he makes it to the Euro.

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