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May 5, 2009

Pep Guardiola has named all the available players in the squad which will travel to London. Carles Puyol, who is suspended for the leg will also travel with the squad. The squad announced are Valdés, Jorquera, Pinto, Alves, Víctor Sánchez, Piqué, Cáceres, Abidal, Sylvinho, Touré Yaya, Keita, Busquets, Gudjohnsen, Xavi, Iniesta, Hleb, Bojan, Henry, Eto'o, Messi and Pedro. The first team players missing are MIlito and Marquez both sidelined with injury. The team trained on monday evening at the Ciudad Deportiva at Sant Joan Despí. It's been confirmed that Thierry Henry missed that practice session and istead did some specific recovery work. The last time when we visited Stamford Bridge, a solitary goal from Drogba handed us a group stage defeat. The last three knock-out stage meeting between these two teams ended with the side which played the second game at home going through. So Barca has to overturn those results to go through.

Barca was a bit low in confidence preparing for the first leg, courtesy of a 2-2 draw at Mestalla. But a 2-6 thrashing of current La LIga champions at Bernebeu would have put them in the right set of mind to take on Chelsea. Chelsea surprised everyone with an ultra-defensive formation at Camp Nou. But in the weekend they faced a Fulham side with Drogba pairing with Anelka and Malouda. But it is better not to go by that line-up, as we will see once more an ultra defensive Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The absence of a regular centre back at FC Barcelona could be the only reason which will open up Chelsea a bit from the begining. But I believe they will try to remain solid in defense in the first half and would look to open up a bit after half time. All the questions regarding the line-up will centre on how Guardiola is going to line-up his defense. I will prefer him moving Abidal to centre and have Caceres as Left-Back. Pique and Alves should retain their usual position. The inclusion of Caceres ahead of Sylvinho will give a bit more height to the defense. The midfield which is the most crucial part for Barca must be made up of Xavi, Iniesta and Toure. Eto and Messi should pair ideally with Henry or if he can't make the cut, I would seriously consider putting Pedro there. Pedro can instill some serious pace in there which we lacked in the last leg. Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo will take charge of the match at Stamford Bridge and let's hope he do well. For all the Barca fans he was the one who officiated in the 5-2 drubbing of Lyon at Camp Nou. He will be assited by countrymen Geir Åge Holen and Dag-Roger Nebben; Brage Sandmoen will be the fourth official. This is going to be one hell of a test for this great Barca side, but I have full belief on them and predict them coming on top of Chelsea by a margin of 1-2. But the key will be not to concede cheap goals and that will surely force Chelsea to open up.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

god am so nervous about the game tonight! i really hope Barca do well

a

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