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Apr 27, 2010

FC Barcelona needs to Produce a Magical Night against Inter Milan

So, the stage is set of this all conquering FC Barcelona side to overcome one of the biggest challenges in last two years. After losing the first leg away 3-1 at San Siro, FC Barcelona have to do it all at Nou Camp now. A failure to do that will see the dream of retaining the Champions league crown at our rivals home ending. Many have pointed out that we need a miracle to go through to the final, but for me that is more of an exaggeration. What we really need is a solid, compact and a determined performance and we could be heading to Bernabeu. The last time Inter Milan visited Camp Nou we ended up winning the match comfortably - FC Barcelona - 2, Inter -0 . A repeat of the same performance will see us comfortably through to the final and that is the reason why I emphasized on a good compact performance rather than a miracle. No way this is going to be easy, but this FC Barcelona side has the talent to achieve that result even with the absence of Iniesta.

The last two Champions League matches at the Camp Nou ended with Barca winning comfortably against Stuttgart and Arsenal. Lionel Messi scored six of those goals in the total of wight for Barca. In those two matches Barca blew apart their opponents in the first half and such a first half performance is the need of the hour. This Inter Milan has improved by a lot from the last time they visited Nou Camp. They have the best central defense pairing in the whole of Europe at this moment in the form of Samuel and Lucio. Their defensive midfielder Cambiasso is surprising everyone with every match. All the credit should be given to Mourinho for turning this side into a very hard working compact side. Inter Milan will present a different challenge to Barca compared to the visits of Stuttgart and Arsenal. Out of all those three teams, Inter is the only side which is coming to Barcelona with the upper hand and clearly know that it for them to lose the semi-final.

Mind Games has already started in Both Camps

The major point of discussion to the build up of this game was about the startegy Mourinho will employ. Will he sit back by parking his players around the box or will he play a style similiar to the one employed at San Siro last week? The answer could be seen from a close look at the Chelsea vs Inter Milan second leg at the Stamford Bridge. In that match Mourinho surprised everyone deploying an attacking formation and pressing really hard especially in the first half. He may deploy a similiar strategy, trying to close down the space of FC Barcelona midfield. Sitting back may backfire if there is an early goal at the Camp Nou from Barca and Mourinho would be the first one to realise that danger. As I wrote in the earlier paragraph, FC Barcelona has to win this tie in the first half. A 0-0 at the half time would seriously make iot difficult, and from then on breaking Inter will be close to impossible.

The mind games have already begun at both the camps. It looks like the designated referee is the target of both the camp. The Belgian referee, Frank De Bleeckere is assigned this match. Before you go berserk yelling at UEFA for not assigning an official from the big leagues, let me tell you that Mr.Bleeckere has a very good reputation when it comes to big matches. He was the one who officiated our UEFA Super Cup victory over Shaktar Donetsk. The Inter President, Massimo Moratti has already blasted FC Barcelona management for putting pressure on the referee. Mourinho did say a few things about our club and players after the first leg, it was quite surprising that he never said a damn thing after the knockout stage matches. You all can be assured that the self claimed "Special One" will say a few more in the press conference before the match. The "Special One" has already started his mind games creating a freak injury scare of Sneijder and Maicon. It looks like the Barcelona based media camps have caught his bluff. I would be quite surprised (in a nice way) to see any of these players missing.

Guardiola's tactics will be closely monitored in the build up of this match. He did fail miserably to read the game at half time at San Siro and we cannot afford a repeat of the same. The first point of intereste will be the formation he would employ. I am not at all a big fan of the 4-2-3-1 formation, but have to agree that it could be the best against Inter Milan. There is not much room to manouvre in the defense for Guardiola. Carles Puyol is suspended for this leg. Milito and pique will form the central defense pairing with Alves on the right and Maxwell on left. Abidal would have been the ideal choice as left back, but still it is not clear whether he is fit and available. The choice of defensive midfielder to pair with xavi infront of defense raised some eyebrows at the San Siro. But it showed Guardiola's preference. He has favoured Busquets over Toure for most of the season, and the kid could not absorb his defense off any pressure nor create a stability for the attacking players at the San Siro. Toure could ideally be my choice simply because of his experience, physiscal presence and defensive capability. The midfield trio should be an ideal formation of Keita, Messi and Pedro with Henry upfront as the striker. Many may question my logic of leaving Ibrahimovic out. The reason is plain simple - We average more than three goals per match without Ibrahimovic and I believe that the reason is his lack of speed. For tomorrow's match I don't want a forward who can kill the speed of our moves but someone who cfan complement. Henry has a better experience in dealing with tough central defenders whereas Ibrahimovic goes missing in those encounters.

Barca players may have blamed the referee for last week debacle at San Siro, but they themselves should know that the major part of blame falls on them. Playesr like Busquets, Alves, Keita, Ibrahimovic were all way below par on the night. Alves and Busquets should stop falling down the moment the simplest of challenge is made. This match would be a test of character of this Barca side. Like Laporta said last week, a great comeback from behind victory could be the only thing this great Barca sides lacks at this moment. This is that moment. To do that the players have to play at their very best, staying strong and focussed throughout this match. There is no reason why barca can knock this Inter side out and I am predicting a 2-0 victory for Barca.

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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