Just how successful will Chelsea’s bus-parking skills prove?

30 04 2009

Barcelona 0 – Chelsea 0


So the first leg of the first semi-final has finished, goalless. The first game this season that Barcelona have failed to score, and Chelsea’s tactic of making sure the Catalan side didn’t score certainly worked. But how much of a good idea was the “park the bus” tactic?

Certainly they did had an admirable job on Barca, who for long stretches of the game failed to create any real clear-cut efforts. Lots of shots came from range or at tricky angles, and the best chance of the first half actually fell to Didier Drogba, who really should have scored, despite Valdes heroics.

Barca showed that it’ll be tricky to shackle them for the full 90 minutes though – late on in the game, Bojangoals missed what should have been a textbook header, and Hleb forced a good save from Cech, and then followed it up with a rush of blood to the head that saw the ball in row z.

So Barca had to fight hard for their chances, but they were very good chances, that they really ought to have taken. The big question is, can Chelsea keep them out for another 90 minutes, and score themselves?

Afterall, at Stamford Bridge, they are going to have to push forwards, they have to score to win the game. This will allow that Barca front line to get a bit of room and create chances. And of course, if Barca score, its an away goal, and Chelsea have to score twice. If they do they have to push forward, and you can only see that leading to more goals from the Catalan giants.

On the other hand, Chelsea will go into the second leg with a slightly renewed confidence. They were all but written off going into this Semi Final, and now they’ve shown that they can go toe-to-toe with Barca, at the Nou Camp, and come out fine. They will have the home advantage in London next week.

And perhaps, after a tricky game against Valencia at the weekend and todays showing, perhaps for Barcelona the pressure and expectation is begining to show. They also will probably go into the second leg with a somewhat makeshift defence – Puyol will miss the second leg suspended and Marquez limped off under no challenge in the Second Half.

It certainly should be a more exciting second leg than first. And I maintain that Barca might just have that slight advantage.




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