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Apr 16, 2009

In one of the most craziest match of this year's Champions League, Chelsea saw off the Liverpool challenge to book a semi-final showdown with FC Barcelona. A clash between two top England clubs usually promises everything other than goals. But this one was different with 12 goals being scored in two legs. Uncharacteristically the two sides defense were guilty for majority of the goals and unusually Pepe Reina and Cech were also guily of few. When the draw was made, many pundits gave Bayern a better chance of progressing to the semi's than Chelsea. Chelsea had a zig-zag season, while Liverpool were the inform team. The destruction of Real Madrid at Anfield and Manchester United at Old Trafford made them favourites to win this year's Champions League. But Guus Hiddink managed Chelsea to do the unthinkable and they did it in a completely different way.

Guus Hiddink already said that - If Chelsea is going to play like the way they did against Liverpool, they are bound to have a tough night against FC Barcelona. Chelsea definitely hold the upper hand in the clash as they play the second leg at home. And they would be hoping to exploit the aerial weakness of Barca like they did against Liverpool. FC Barcelona undoubtedly has been the inform team this year but they definitely have the aerial weakness which Chelsea would be looking to exploit. But what worries FC Barcelona the most would be the return of Drogba back to form. He always have been a tough nut for us to crack and Puyol definitely is going to have a tough time ahead. Lampard looks in good form and he is the one through which most of the attacks are going to come. Also Barca needs to wary of the master-tactician named Guus Hiddink.

One good thing for Barca is that this Chelsea is not the ideal squad for Hiddink's tactics. Hiddink is known to be a person who employs wingers with devastating effect. But still he has manged fairly well with this Chelsea side. This will be the first visit of Deco to his old club. But there are some definite pleasing news for Barca. First of all is the absence of Ashley Cole for the first leg. With Cole suspended, there is no recognised left back for Chelsea to play in that position. Stopping Messi without a recognised Left-Back is going to be tough, add to this Daniel Alves, a Right Back who regularly find himself in opposition penalty box. As far as I am concerned, the fact that there is no recognised wingers in this Chelsea side is one fact which will make Barca happy. Our fullbacks are known to go deep upfront and this creates a possibility of getting caught in defense, especially with Alves. Malouda is good in the right wing but has not been in great form recently. This means that Messi will have more than decent support from Dani Alves on the right.

Most of the attack from Chelsea is going to come from the centre. We will see many long balls being flotted into Barca's box again and again. Guardiola could be tempted to go in for a bit more defensive midfield against Chelsea. But I fgirmly believe that he should not give into that kind of temptation. Against Chelsea we need to have our midfield completely dominating the proceedings. For this we need the deadly duo of Xavi and Iniesta playing in the centre. With the kind of form these two players are in, this is the best bet to unsettle Chelsea. Hiddink will definitely employ Essien and Mikel together to negate these two genius. But then they will have a tough time dealing with them.

Uncharacteristically Chelsea has been quite uncomfortable this season in the defense. This is good news for Barca. And the fact that Cech is not in great form also could help Barca. But the success of Barca against Chelsea will depend on how we cut the balls from centre to Drogba and Anelka. And for this one man becomes crucial - Yaya Toure. There is no reason why we should think that he will fail in that, he has been exceptional this season. FC Barcelona has to take a sizeable lead into the second leg. Fot this Messi and Alves should definitely exploit Chelsea's vulnerability on the left flank.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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