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Chelsea vs. Barcelona: Your Running Commentary

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One of the few things that Lionel Messi has yet to do in his remarkable career is score against Chelsea. He'll get an opportunity to snap that six-game drought in the first leg of Barcelona's highly anticipated UEFA Champions League semifinal with Chelsea, with Wednesday's first leg taking place at Stamford Bridge (2 p.m., FX).

Barcelona is on a mission to repeat as UCL title holders, and to do that the Spanish giants will aim to seize control of the series on the road in a rematch of the controversial 2009 semifinal that they won on a late Andres Iniesta goal. The match also marks the return to London for a pair of former Premier League standouts, as Javier Mascherano and Cesc Fabregas are both in the starting XI for Pep Guardiola's side.

Chelsea has been playing a much better brand of soccer under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, and the Blues need an advantageous result at home to avoid having to climb a steep mountain at Camp Nou in next week's return leg.

If you will be watching today's match, please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. Enjoy the action.

Comments

  1. “We know that in order to score, we need to create a lot of chances.” – Pep after the game.

    it’s like the guy forgot what just happened to him on the field. chelsea had like 6 shots, 1 on target, and a goal. barca had 24 shots and no goals.

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  2. What Valdes supporters will argue is that Barca’s system, their offense, begins with the keeper. So Valdes does things that other keepers don’t in order to get plays going. But I am not sold on that concept. Like you, I am not overly impressed with Valdes. Not saying he isn’t a fine keeper, just never thought he was in the class of a Casillas, Cech, etc.

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  3. Both teams executed their game plans pretty well, Chelsea just finished their chance while Barca squandered their multiple opportunities. Good win for the Blues but will be interesting to see if they can hold off Barca at Camp Nou.

    For the keeper types out there (I’m not one of them, which is why I ask this), am I wrong in being somewhat underwhelmed by Victor Valdes? Feel free to enlighten me if I am. I get that he has good feet and is calm and accurate with his distribution of the ball out of the back, but I feel like on the rare occassion when the defense fails and he’s called on to make a huge save, he just doesn’t have it. I know there’s a difference between being a great shot stopper and a great all around keeper, but sometimes I get the impression that Valdes, while obviously a very good keeper, is considered World Class by association just because of how much Barca wins.

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  4. So this interim dude at Chelsea, does he have a shot at sticking around or does this simply underscore how poor a fit Villa-Boas was for the team?

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  5. I think if Chelsea play as solidly as they did today, then they’ll have a chance. But again, there’s a reason why the matchup is played over two legs, and Camp Nou is Barca’s playground.

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  6. I hate it when people complain about fans for not being fans since the beginning of their team’s existence, basically. So what if they’re just now showing excitement for their team?! Doesn’t mean they’re a fake fan. It could just mean that they’re new fans or that their interest in the team has grown.

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  7. Talk about winning the battle but losing the war. Chelsea can celebrate tonight, but I think we can pretty much see where this is headed.

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  8. Their hundreds of “unnecessary” passes” has been their system for CHAMPIONSHIP success in UCL and La Liga; it’s proven. Now, of course, their system isn’t full proof, as we saw today. But if just one of those chances had gone in, we’d be looking at a whole different story right now. That’s why the matchup is played over two legs: Chelsea was able to successfully counterattack and bunker down in their own stadium. At Camp Nou? We’ll see who’s system works better there…

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  9. Chelsea won this game. It was ugly, gritty, and boring at times, yet, it was exactly how Chelsea envisioned. Sit back, let Barca dink it around in the midfield, withstand a few chances, and convert on a counter attack. The game plan worked. Will it work at Camp Nou? Doubtful, but they now know it’s possible to blank Barcelona.

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