So it’s the morning after Chelsea knocked out the current holders of the UEFA Champions league at their home ground. Finally I have calmed down enough to put my thoughts down on paper. I really tried last night after the match but I guess I was too excited to write anything.
And I had every right to be excited. I am a huge Chelsea fan but I am a practical person also. While I always hope Chelsea win, even before the tie started I wasn’t really confident that we would progress. When we went 2 goals down, with ten men on the pitch at one of the biggest stadiums in the world, I had begun mentally preparing myself.
But what a comeback Chelsea pulled off. In the end we didn’t need the away goals rule to qualify, we didn’t need a refereeing decision to go in our favour, and we didn’t even need 11 players on the field. We did it with hard work, discipline and lady luck on our side.
There were many things that I learnt after yesterday’s match and below I will talk about them one by one.
RDM has brought back the team spirit in the team
Roberto Di Mateo has surely united the team and brought back the team spirit that was the hall mark of Chelsea in recent years. Andre Villas-Boas must be kicking himself for trying to change so much in such a short time and eventually alienating many players. In contrast, even players that have been benched by RDM have praised the Italian’s man management. A comeback like the one we witnessed at the Camp Nou cannot be achieved without team spirit and character.
An example of playing for the team is the goal by Ramires. Chelsea are 2 goals down a man short and Ramires is playing right back. He has just been shown a yellow card and knows he won’t play the final if Chelsea somehow makes it. It would be easy to see heads drop and shoulders sag at such a time. Ramires did not have to run the length of the pitch to latch onto Frank Lampard’s pass and score a goal, but he did. And that is when the whole complexion of the tie changed.
Terry is prone to stupidity
John Terry is a proper Chelsea legend. He seems to be a man made of steal and has so much character and fighting spirit that it seems he has come straight out of a comic book. For most fans he is already one of our future managers, for some he is our current manager. However he is prone to stupidity and this is not the first time he has done something he should not have. He does have a temper and it can sometimes cloud his judgement. However I still stand by him, he is our captain and the red card did make the comeback that much more epic.
Lamps has still got it
With all this talk of a summer clear out, Frank Lampard is staking his claim here. It was his pass that released Ramires in the first leg to set up Chelsea’s goal and yesterday again Ramires latched onto his through ball to score the goal that gave Chelsea the belief that they can go through. Lampard has done his part I hope Roman Abramovich noticed.
Chelsea is Messi’s kryptonite
Arguably he is the best player in the world and some also believe the best player football has ever seen. But even superheroes have weaknesses, and for Lionel Messi the kryptonite seems to be Chelsea. 8 matches 0 goals conceded to Messi, is a stat any team would be proud of. Chelsea has something going on here, because Messi couldn’t even score from a penalty. For me it’s a bit of luck, and a bit of good defensive play that has left Messi rattled and has doubts creeping into his mind.
Torres likes playing Barcelona
Okay so granted El Nino has not been good at Chelsea, actually there are a lot of players in a lot of different leagues in the world that have been better than him. But Barcelona seems to be one of his favourite hunting grounds. Many had called for him to start because he has been so prolific against the Catalan giants during his career. Now that he has scored the goal many are saying that it was an easy goal for him to score. Right now for Torres there are no easy goals, should I remind you of THAT miss at Old Trafford. Some are asking what all the noise is about; Chelsea did not need that goal to qualify. Well you remember the 2009 match at Stamford Bridge? This goal ensured that 2009 did not happen again. Also remember playing Mortal Kombat? There were these moves called fatalities. They were employed when you had already beaten an opponent but you ripped their gut out to make the win that much more spectacular and enjoyable, the Torres goal was exactly that.
Barcelona are beatable, and have no plan B
If I were to go back and search for all those comments on Twitter and Facebook that predicted Barcelona would massacre Chelsea at Camp Nou, I would waste the whole day. You know what I am talking about because every footy fan saw them. Thing is Barca are beatable and they have no plan B. There is no denying Barcelona is one of the best clubs in the world if not the best and to beat such a team you need a little bit of luck. However if you can close the spaces and suffocate them, they don’t have any other plan to turn too and can be easily rattled. This is the third game in a row it has happened to them. While their plan A is Majestic, they do need a plan B, just in case they come up against a team that won’t let them play the way they like.