After an impressive 1-0 win tonight at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea still have it all to do in Spain next week if they wish to progress to the final! Before the match, many people wrote Di Matteo’s side off as contenders, due to the pure quality of the current Barca team. But clearly Chelsea have proved they are not a side in ‘decline,’ as some critics suggest, and that they are still capable of winning big games against the Worlds best teams.
Didier Drogba struck the only goal of the night in first-half stoppage time as Chelsea shut out the defending champions. The Catalans dominated possession throughout but could not find a way past Petr Cech. The key to the home sides success, undoubtedly lies on their ability to keep Messi quiet for the majority of the match. A disciplined defence prevented the visitors from making the breakthrough to leave Chelsea with a slim lead ahead of next weeks match. A repeat defensive performance from Terry and co will definitely be needed for the away leg in 6 days time.
After the game Chelsea Boss Di Matteo said: ‘It was almost perfect. It’s a great result for us.
‘When you play Barcelona you have to do a lot of defending and they have all the possession, you have to limit their threat and be clinical when you get your chances’
‘Didier Drogba scored the crucial goal for us but it was a collective performance.’
He added, ‘it’s 50/50 now, there is still a second leg to be played away from home.’
Overall statistics show Barcelona had 70% of the possession and 25 shots on goal, this compares to 4 from Chelsea. Barca made a total of 814 passes – Chelsea just 209. Yet, Guardiola’s team still returned to the Nou Camp empty-handed.
Before the second leg, both teams have tough matches domestically. Barca face Real Madrid in the el Classico, this fixture could potentially settle the Spanish league title, as a Madrid win would place them 7 points clear of second place. Whereas, Chelsea will play Arsenal away at the Emirates, with final champions league spots still up for contention. Both sides will naturally go into these games with one eye on the second leg at the Nou Camp. Although the weekends fixtures could have a big impact when considering their importance to each team.
As a fan of the English Premier League, I will certainly be rooting for Chelsea in the away tie. Hopefully they can avenge their controversial defeat to the same opposition at this stage of the competition in 2009. With regards to Di Matteo and his role as Chelsea’s temporary manager, perhaps victory and progression to the final could boost his prospects of landing the job on a permanent basis.