UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
BARCELONA - CHELSEA
Barcelona have looked the best team in Europe this season and I suppose it would be justice of a sort if they won the premier club competition. However, I am not sure that they match up so well against English teams, who have dominated the competition in recent years, winning just one in six against EPL teams and failing to win in four at the Camp Nou. These semi-finals are traditionally extremely tight affairs and with both clubs knowing the value of an away goal, we might not see the goal fest that most of us are hoping for.
Chelsea have looked far more comfortable on the road this season and to be able to bet then getting such a big handicap start, looks too good to be able to resist. The Blues have a very astute coach at the helm now and Guus Hiddink is confident he has a plan to keep Lionel Messi in check, whether that is the case we will see, but the visitors hold plenty of offensive threat too and Drogba, Lampard and Anelka, will also pose questions of the Barce backline.
Semi-finals in all competitions are very strange affairs, the pressure rises a whole other level and especially in the first leg, teams tend to cancel each other out. Of the last sixteen, eight have ended all square, with six 0-0 draws, including the Barce-Man U game last year, of the rest, only one ended in a two goal winning margin.
With tonight only being half time, I do not see too much change in those stats and feel that Chelsea will come away with something.
Despite this being such a huge game, Barce also have to have El Clasico at the back of their mind, when they travel to Madrid at the weekend, before the return in London, a massive eight days when even the Catalan giants array of riches might be stretched.
Did you recognise young Guus in the photo ?
6.5 points Chelsea +3/4 ball 1.93 asian line.