The Bigger They Are

Possession football can be dangerous. Perfecting possession football can cause your downfall. Barcelona has taught us that lesson, after learning it painfully themselves. The Titans of Spanish football fell to the stubborn laggards of their English counterparts.

Chelsea may have come into this game with a formation on the game board, but quickly settled into the inevitable 10-0-0 shape and began fighting for every bit of possession like caravans fighting over an oasis. Barcelona quickly settled into their routine perfect first touch and pass game and Valdes and every neutral began their yawns.

That equalizer came, as did the red card for the stupidest of the 22, John Terry. On the stage of the biggest theatre, he improvised the script, thinking on his knees, and earned himself an unceremonious exit. Barcelona must have begun planning their trip to Munich but they simply failed to imagine the impact that card had on Chelsea. Chelsea had packed a dose of extra strong stubbornness tablets.

Chelsea caught a break and Ramirez chipped over a rusting and forgotten Valdes to exquisitely bring back his team from the dead. And what’s more, they now had that crucial cushion of an away goal. Barcelona were slowly waking to the fact that they were behind enemy lines, at their home and needed to score at all costs. They responded in typical BORING BARCA (TM)  style.

The second half was all about 10 stubborn men in their box, keeping 11 hurt and wounded bullies away from their castle. Cech was as alert as a sniper stalking his target. Barcelona were having to working extra time to even get a shot on target.

Here’s when their own game plan failed them. There were so many side passes one would believe they were taking pride in just retaining possession and creating a statistical record. There was so little credible threat that their back four and Valdes must have started day dreaming. They forgot that Chelsea while defending, had also brought in a rusting sword that was still capable of serious damage, given the slightest chance. And they ended bleeding out of the Champions League.

Torres etched his name in sweet history, scoring a $50 million goal, and giving himself another shot at redemption. Terry etched his name in infamy and countless timeless twitter hashtags and jokes. Barcelona etched their name in the list of teams unable to retain the trophy.

Chelsea etched theirs as that team of 10 men who gave the Titans a match to remember and a scar to hide.

 

DETLA1

3 thoughts on “The Bigger They Are

  1. Did Torres etch his name in history? Was it worth £50m seeing as Chelsea were effectively going through anyway? It was significant in a way, but ultimately insignificant. I don’t know why such a big deal is being made of it.

    I don’t think neutrals find Barcelona boring. On the contrary, when a side chooses not to play a back ten on the goalline, Barcelona can play the most surgical, breathtaking, intelligent football on the planet. Any side can string three passes together to score a goal. It takes something altogether different to truly pull a team apart as Xavi, Iniesta, Alves and Messi do.

    Boring? You better start liking it – they’re going to be around for a while yet.

    • Thanks for the comments, Max. Torres has not redeemed himself with that goal, but it will forever be a landmark foal for him. Chelsea don’t owe him their place in the finals. But it broke any spine Barcelona had left.
      What do you expect 10 men to do against a team that, against the likes of Real Madrid, keep 70+% possession? And Barcelona were well and truly under pressure, thanks to the exquisite Ramirez goal.
      Of course Barcelona are not going anywhere. They continue to be European football’s gold standard. They were boring because they lacked ideas. Sideway passes are only worth so much. If I could, the least I’d have done is start shooting at the post. They didn’t have a Plan B.

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