Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhat we learnt from the Nou Camp - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough What we learnt from the Nou Camp - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

What we learnt from the Nou Camp

When only 35 minutes have been played of a football match and this happens, it doesn’t bode too well. Especially when you are playing against one of the best teams in club football. When John Terry stupidly kneed Alexis Sanchez in the back, resulting in his sending off, Chelsea seemed down and out of their second leg Champions League semi-final tie against Barcelona. 
Already Gary Cahill had departed with an injury, and it was to become much worse for Chelsea’s defence when Branislav Ivanovic was yellow carded, resulting in him missing the final. After the match, it was up to Sky Sports Geoff Shreeves to break the news to the Serb, who was close to tears in the post-match interview. But, despite Chelsea’s woes (which also including midfielders Ramires and Raul Meireles missing the final in Munich), they overcame Barcelona in what was a remarkable game of top-quality European football. 
I’m not going to write about the match content (ill leave BBC to cover that one) But instead I’m going to make three very important conclusions from last night. The first one being that of Fernando Torres’ last minute goal.  
#1 Fernando Torres actually scored I’m being flippant, but thank god he put a ball in the back of the net! And what a time to do so! Chelsea were almost home and dry by the time Torres had scored. The defending in the team was heroic, with as many as 10 players behind the ball in the final 5 minutes. The sustained Barcelona attack which resulted in two goals in the space of 5 minutes began to die out, and it was just as well it wasn’t 11 men defending, as Torres was the lone man upfront when Ashley Cole lashed a clearance away from the box. Running about fifty yards up the field, he successfully rounded a flustered Victor Valdez and slotted home for a famous goal for the Spaniard. It was clear how much it meant to Torres and to the team on a whole – Chelsea were though to the Champions League final in Munich. They were wounded, but they had made it.
I don’t think that anyone would have predicted the result last night, in no due part to the anti-climax of AVB’s short-lived reign and the mess that Chelsea was left in. But ex-blue Roberto Di Matteo stepped in and had valiantly led the team to amazing success. Which leads me to my second point…
#2 Di Matteo should stay Simple. I think he is exactly what Chelsea need. He has clearly shown that he is capable of guiding the Chelsea team to success – reaching the FA Cup Final and now this. The thing that Matteo lacks that AVB did have was fame, which in this instance is a good thing. He has got nothing to lose – he came in as the underdog to fill the gap and wasn’t expected to do anything special but keep Chelsea in a respectable position in the PL. AVB had everything to lose. They called him “the next big thing in football” and “the new Mourinho” – this pressure finally taking its toll on they young manager. Matteo came in as a manger who could enjoy his time as manager without the pressures of “where do we go next?”. Luckily for him, it has all seemed to gel into place. If Abramovich and Senior Management at Stamford Bridge do not seriously consider him for the job they are not only naive but also senseless. He is perfect, and as a Chelsea fan I want to see him get it. Winning the CL will most certainly cement his rightful place as manager, but after last nights match, that could prove a hard challenge. Which leads me to my third and final point…
#3 Chelsea have made it very tough for themselves There is no point in denying that the final is going to
be a very difficult match to win, regardless of the opponent (my money is on Madrid) When you go into a match of such significance, you have got to keep cool. John Terry was not cool. What ever went though his head we will never know, but lets hope he doesn’t rue the day he put his knee is someone’s back. The other three speak for themselves – if you know there is a chance you could miss the biggest match of your career, don’t make rash tackles. Simple. A little harsh I know but they only have themselves to blame (I didn’t see the match so if they didn’t deserve their cards please comment and correct me) Ramiers will be a massive loss. He is, I believe, one of the best midfielder in the PL at the moment. He is a real talent, and his Brazilian flare has added a spark to the Chelsea midfield that has been missing. His goal just goes to show his talent – a delicate chip minutes after Barcelona’s second goal. He bowed out of Chelsea’s CL campaign like a hero. He will be severely missed. As for Chelsea’s defence, I would take a guess and say that it will be Bosingwa, Cole, Luiz (if he is fit) and possibly Essien who we know can play defence if needed. I would like to see Ryan Bertrand feature in the final. Chelsea and Di Matteo have got to where they are now by taking risks, and I think that seeing Bertrand feature in the final is a risk, but a risk which could pay off. 
As a proud Chelsea fan it was an amazing 90 minutes to witness. They played with real passion and drive, and to come into the dressing room still in with a chance at half time deserves some credit. Credit where credit is due – Barcelona were brilliant. If only for the post it might have been a different story, but alas Chelsea came out victorious. And what better way to lead Chelsea Football Club to a Champions League Final than with the knowledge that no other English team even got close! 


Conor Patton

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