Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barcelona vs Chelsea: The MSC Preview

Old enemies... Lionel Messi and Frank Lampard
Barcelona and Chelsea meet tonight in a highly anticipated Uefa Champions League semi-final second leg tie. It’s difficult to predict a winner, but here are some interesting facts around tonight’s humdinger at the Camp Nou:

·         Firstly, a defeat for Barcelona tonight would see them lose their third game in a row for the first time since early 2003, when Barca suffered consecutive losses to Valencia, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid.

·         In all, Chelsea and Barcelona have met four times in the knockout stage of the Champions League, with the Catalan giants progressing on three of those occasions.

·         Barcelona however have suffered four defeats against Chelsea in the Champions League, more than against any other side.

·         In fact, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six Champions League games against Barcelona, four of which have been draws.

·         Matter fact, Barcelona's last win over Chelsea was way back in 2006 when the two met in the last 16 of the competition. Barca won 2-1 that day. Ronaldinho was still around.

·         These two sides have played each other on 11 previous occasions in the Champions League. Only Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have played against each other more times (13) in the competition’s history. Barca and Chelsea, though, are the most frequent adversaries since the turn of the century.

Shut down Messi!
·      When it comes to scoring goals, Chelsea’s old guard remains the goalscoring key for Roberto Di Matteo’s side. Frank Lampard currently leads the way with 16 goals this season, while Didier Drogba has 11.

·         On the Barcelona side, hitman Lionel Messi is currently sitting on an unbelievable 63 goals so far this season. The Flea has however failed to find the net in his last two games, a drought by his standards.

·    Barcelona, the defending champions, are playing in their fifth consecutive Champions League semi-final.

·         In all Barca and Chelsea have both reached the semi-final stage of the competition six times in the last nine seasons – the most by any clubs.

·         Over the last six meetings between the two teams, only once have both sides managed to score more than a single goal in a game (2-2 at Camp Nou in October 2006).

Will Barcelona be celebrating at the end of the night?...
·      Chelsea have opened the scoring in each of their 11 Champions League games this season. If that record continues tonight they could seal their second final appearance in club history.

·         The man to watch is Lionel Messi, of course. He has played against Chelsea on seven occasions, but has never scored against them. But Messi has scored 14 goals in the Champions League this season (a joint all-time record) and has scored a total of 32 goals in his last 28 games in the competition.

·         Finally, Should Pep Guardiola’s side fail to reach the Champions League final, their only real chance for a major trophy at the end of this season would be in the Copa del Rey, where Barca will face Athletic Bilbao in the final.

...Or will it be Didier Drogba and Chelsea?
Game on!

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