Wednesday, April 25, 2012
FC Barcelona 2 - 2 Chelsea - The Catalans are down and out
That was an unbelievable game of Football. It had everything. Goals, drama, a penalty, a red-card and an "underdog" winning. Well, not sure if "underdog" is the right term to describe Chelsea, but you know what I mean. Some pointers after this game:
- Pique's hit was a nasty one. He looked completely dazed and for him to get back on the pitch to carry on was a risky thing to do by the player and club's doctors. When he was substituted, he was immediately taken to the hospital due to concussion.
- I hate John Terry with a passion, but regardless of what anyone, including the wife-hunter himself says, I still think that giving a red card for that was harsh. During Football games, players get knees in the back (or bum in this case) all the time and yes, it is a foul. But a red card offense. A straight one? I'm not so sure about that. Sanchez made the most of it, that must be said, but I was surprised by the decision. Terry went on to say after the game that he's "not that type of player". Funny.
- Barca were 2-0 up and strolling their way to victory. They surrendered a 2-0 lead at the Nou Camp. Barcelona! Pep Guardiola's Barcelona surrendering a 2 goal lead in a Champions League semi-final! Nobody could ever have predicted that. One thing I've been saying about this particular Barca team is that despite all their qualities, they've never been faced with the disappointments of consecutive defeats. They're a fantastic mechanism, but their mental strength that requires bouncing back from defeats has never been tested. Tonight it was and it didn't look too good.
- 3 games without a win for Barca. 2 defeats and a draw (which is actually a defeat). When was the last time that happened to them?
- Ramires. That finish. What a beauty. You've got to have balls of steel to try that in such a game and at such a moment.
- The beauty of Barcelona's second goal was the way Iniesta controlled himself to not fall into the offside trap. A striker's behavior by a midfield maestro.
- The first half felt like it happened in 5 minutes. Entertainment to the max!
- Was it a penalty? Definitely. A poor striker's tackle by Drogba. But for Lionel Messi to smash it with such power onto the crossbar was unexpected. Well, who knew? Messi is human after all!
- Lionel Messi has still never scored against Chelsea.
- Barcelona have no plan B. Besides their "philosophy" of passing and all that lovely stuff that people cream themselves over all the time, what happens when teams like Chelsea and Real Madrid "park the bus" or play an organized line to stop those trademark passes? Where's the plan B? If any of their players had taken a shot from outside the box, I'm pretty sure it would have caused even more chaos and probably resulted in a goal. It felt like they were continuously waiting to caress the ball into the net. Chelsea had 10 men in the penalty area all game. Have a bloody shot and it'll deflect off someone and who knows what'll happen.
- Fernando Torres. 50 million pounds, in cash, were just refunded to Roman Abramovitch with that goal. Torres probably couldn't believe it himself that he scored; but the man has a great record against Barcelona. 8 goals in his last 11 games against them.
- Drogba is still a beast.
- Do Chelsea have a chance in the final without Ramires, John Terry, Ivanovic and Mereiles?
- Should Roberto Di Matteo be given the full-time job? It's funny that Chelsea's two Champions League final appearances will have been led by two interim coaches (Grant 2008 and Di Matteo 2012). Maybe Abramovich should keep sacking managers during the middle of the season.
- What's next for Pep Guardiola's Barcelona? And for the man himself?
- Last, but not least, the league comparisons. I hate hearing them. During the season, some people say "La Liga is better than the Premier League because X, Y, Z from La Liga are at this stage in a European competition", or vice versa. The same goes for the Bundesliga, Serie A and all other leagues. You can't compare leagues with this sort of stuff. The team in 6th in the Premier League is in the final of the Champions League. What does that mean? Is the Premiership the best? No. Is La Liga is failing? No. You just can't compare. Leagues are different in the same way cultures are. Spending your time trying to compare which league is better than which (especially based on the ridiculous assumption that how many teams left in Europe is an indication of that) doesn't make sense to me. Some leagues are better than others in various aspects, and depending on your personal preference, it becomes a subjective choice. End of story.