European Soccer

UEFA Champions League: Chelsea and Barcelona set for semifinal clash


When Chelsea takes on Barcelona today in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal (2:30pm, ESPN2/ESPN360.com), all eyes will be on Lionel Messi and whether the Blues can find a way to stop him.

Messi is just one of the standouts in a star-studded series loaded with some of the best match-ups a soccer fan could hope to see. Here's the question for you: which match-up are you most looking forward to?

Is it Messi vs. Portuguese fullback Jose Boswinga? Samuel Eto'o vs. John Terry? Frank Lampard and Michael Essien vs. Xavi and Andres Iniesta? Carles Puyol vs. Didier Drogba?

So many great pairings to choose from. Which of these is the best? Is there a match-up that isn't on this list that you think will take center stage? Who do you see winning this series?

Share your thoughts on today's semifinal in the comments section below (and be sure to check back in to SBI this afternoon to follow commentary on the Chelsea-Barcelona semifinal).

  • madmax

    Can Barcelona play defense? I don’t know because they always have the ball in attack.
    Do they need to play defense? Not if they have the ball for 65% of play.
    Barca 3-2


  • Karlomano

    I am chelsea fan.. but i really think barcelona is playing the best soccer right now.. fast acurate and fun!! Barza 2-0


  • gel65

    Essien will mark Iniesta right out of the game.Barcelona is not used to the pace of the English game,they will not have as much time on the ball.If barca does have a weakness,its their defense.That being said,it will still be a difficult game for Chelsea,but one that they can potentially get a good result goin home for the 2nd leg.Give me a 2-1 Barca win and as a Blues fan,i will be confident goin in to the 2nd leg that we can go through to the final.


  • Berlin

    Barcelona is in for a rude awakening. JT will drop someone in the first five minutes. Chelsea ain’t Malaga and the CL ain’t the Primera. Blues, 1-0.


  • LaLiga>EPL

    “Barcelona is not used to the pace of the English game.” What rubbish. Tired of you Brits and EPL aficionados talking out of your ass. Barca 2 Blues 0. It will be hack city because Chelsea is slow and will foul all damn night. I see a red card somewhere in this match hurting Chelsea’s chances next week. The EPL only has four or five good global teams. Barca is used to this type of competition regardless of the fact they play in La Liga. Talk about teams, not the leagues. Chelsea beating up on the likes of Bolton and Newcastle ain’t nothing to be snarky about.



    I’m hoping for Chelsea to win but unfortunately I think Barca will blow them out of the water.


  • Boon

    Oh dear. The bookies look like they’re at it again, giving away too much value! Barcelona and their “holy trinity” of attacking players has been seized upon by the newspapers, and they all seem to suggest in unison that Chelsea are going to be ripped apart like shreds.

    In my mind both teams are very talented, Barcelona maybe the more talented, but they are not the only ones who can score goals and I think Drogba et al will give the shaky Barca defence a good run around.


  • Chris

    I hope Barca win as they are much more fun to watch than Chelsea. I have a bad feeling though that Chelsea will surprise people and make it through. For all the talk about how great Barca are playing, they really haven’t played against significant competition. They’ve looked impressive at times this year, but that’s only been in La Liga matches. Their performances in the CL have not been all that great. Their beating Bayern impressed many, but they caught Bayern when they were weak (at the same time they were dropping down the BL table). Barca’s impressive performances were all pretty much in La Liga, but it seems La Liga was not particularly strong this season. Teams that were in Europe all crashed out earlier than expected.

    I want Barca to win, but I think more is being made of them than they actually are. Hope they prove me wrong.


  • northzax

    I think this ends up 2-1, it will be interesting to see if the Barca beautiful game can hold up against the pressing defense of Chelski, and their willingness to go in hard and fast. That said, certainly Henri understands, so that should be an advantage for Barca, but I think the physical play of Chelsea knocks Barca off their game.


  • A.S.

    “Is there a match-up that isn’t on this list that you think will take center stage?”

    Petr Cech vs himself.

    At least, how he’s been playing lately.


  • Colin Ferguson

    The superior competition in the EPL is what gives the big English teams the edge dude. That’s why we keep seeing all English semi-finals and finals. I don’t know how people continue to dispute this when the evidence is right there in the results.

    Barca’s attack is scary, but their defense is suspect. If they can keep Alves reined in and not get caught on the break, they might have a chance of keeping a clean sheet. I don’t think it’s going to happen. This is going to be high scoring, Hiddink as much as promised that.

    Chelsea came into the Liverpool tie underdogs, about to play a team that just thrashed United 4-1, and they surprised everyone. I think they can do it again. Hiddink is a master tactician, he has proved time and again that he can get the best out of this Chelsea team.

    I’m predicting the score going into half time is 2-0 to Barca, and by the end of 90 it will be 2-2. A more than acceptable scoreline to take back to the Bridge.


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