Archive for April, 2012

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Just to Put things in perspective –Not been contravened this time, Chelsea are in the final of the UEFA Champions League 2012. Blues survived John Terry’s red card and many such heart breaking moments to seal a truly remarkable victory over Barcelona.

At the final blow of the whistle at Camp Nou , 95000 football crazy fans in the stadium and billions around the globe witnessed Chelsea eliminating Barcelona and making their way into Final on May 19th after almost 4 years. Last time Chelsea marched to the Champions League final under the guidance of caretaker manager Avram Grant in 2008. Last night, it was a combination of guts, determination and spirit which aided Chelsea overcome the maze comprising the brilliance of Barcelona, referee, ghost goal, penalty shoot and woodwork. This time, there were no complaints, no conspiracy theories.

The Blues were in serious trouble after goals from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta put Barcelona ahead either side of Terry’s red card for violent conduct and Cahill lost to injury .It was a one way traffic similar to the 1st leg (78%-22%), but Ramires chipped one over valdes to get away side back in the game. There were heroes in white Imageeverywhere, with Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic throwing their bodies in the way of everything. Ashley Cole eclipsed Daniel Alves while Ramires, Raul Merieles and Lampard stifled Barcelona in midfield.

Early in the second half Barcelona were given the chance to take hold of the tie again when Didier Drogba tripped Cesc Fabregas in the box. Spot kick to be taken by the one who has scored 14 goals in the Champions League this season – one more would have given him the record for a single campaign – but he beamed his spot-kick against the bar. A let-off for Blues which they didn’t failed to capitalize upon. Chelsea’s rearguard action in the remainder of the second half was stupefying. They were compact, disciplined. They sat on the edge of their box, restraining themselves from chasing the ball.

Barcelona had their chances, with Cuenca’s effort saved by Cech and Messi striking the post from 22 yards, but the Blues held on to their luck and defense. Somehow they rose to find hope, and with it, power and effectiveness to turn a lost match around. In the dying minutes of the classic encounter Torres provided the perfect finish for his team scoring a one on one proving his 50 million pound worth at a critical stage of the league.

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For the final showdown in Munich on 19th May, Chelsea must work out how to win a Champions League final against either the team of Chelsea’s former boss Jose Mourinho or the side whose home ground hosts the final, without suspended quartet Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic. Chelsea would be hoping of Cahill and David Luiz overcoming hamstring injuries to have some sort of recognized centre back pairing.

Bottom-line is, nothing can be taken away from English club who beat Barcelona on their own home ground, with 10 men and without their centre backs on the field. They might have played ugly but they won. The final on 19th may in Munich will surely transpire into a BoomBox , expect nothing less than a perfect showdown sparkle.

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Year 2012 FA cup final in may will see two teams that had quite miserable Premier League campaigns this season. Both teams (Liverpool and Chelsea) will both look to end their seasons on highs with the FA Cup final being a trophy that both clubs can fall back on and depict the season as ‘worthwhile’. Both clubs overcame city rivals. Liverpool edged Everton on a late header from Andy Carroll, while Chelsea ruined Tottenham’s hopes of getting to the final, by a scoreline of 1-5

For Liverpool it will be their 2nd visit to Wembley for a Cup final after their Carling Cup success in February this year. The bright side for them is Andy Carroll who has now scored 2 goals in as many games which have both earned Liverpool wins over Blackburn Rovers and Everton. A final against Chelsea will be a memorable one for Liverpool and gives them a great opportunity to win their 8th ever FA Cup.

For Chelsea it was a ghost goal which helped them to set up a final FA Cup clash with Liverpool.For blues it is likely to be their best opportunity at silverware this season as Barcelona await in the champions league semi-finals and it’s hard to see them progressing any further.The records do read very well for Chelsea, having appeared in 3 of the last 5 FA Cup finals and winning all 3 of them. They’ve recovered extremely well under their new coach and the FA Cup would be fitting send off for di Matteo’s work at the club in his short stay as he looks unlikely to be handed the job full time unless he can bring home the desperately craved Champions League trophy.

Yes its true,Barcelona are playing in their fifth consecutive Champions League semi-final, the longest run in the history of the competition.Barcelona travel to London to face Chelsea this Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final matchup on the same hallowed ground which played host to what has become a defining moment for both clubs.

Barcelona and Chelsea have each reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League six times in the last nine seasons (since 2003/04), the best tallies over that period.Chelsea have earned a much deserved semi final spot in a hard way whereas it has been a nothing less than a cake walk for catalan giants.

It’s been three years since Barca has last met Chelsea in the Champions League.Chelsea usually keeps it narrow at the back in Stamford Bridge and the attacking startegy mostly involve a big centre forward, in this case Drogba winning aerial balls and releasing wide players.the biggest advantage for Barca is the fact that the second leg is going to be held at Camp Nou, a very wide pitch compared to Stamford Bridge.

Prediction for this nothing less than a classic would be a shot in the dark.Barcelona enter the match with the tide of past accomplishment rushing out before them, blustering the services of arguably the best player in the history of the game, and motivated by recent memories. Chelsea also find themselves motivated by these same memories, albeit in quite a different light with a 1-5 win over Tottenhum Hotspur in FA cup semis.As a true Chelsea fan supported by some previous facts ,I won’t be surprised by blues winning by a 2-0 margin.

FC Barcelona Lineup (Predicted): Valdés, Dani Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas, Iniesta, Messi, Alexis Sánchez

Chelsea FC Lineup (Predicted): Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Jose Bosingwa, Frank Lampard, Raul Meireles, Ramires, Juan Mata, Salomon Kalou, Dider Drogba