Barcelona v Chelsea - Believe in Chelsea - We can go through!

I have woken up with such a strange feeling this morning and I haven't felt like this before a game in a long, long time. In around 12 h...

I have woken up with such a strange feeling this morning and I haven't felt like this before a game in a long, long time. In around 12 hours from now, the Champions League semi final second leg kicks off at Nou Camp and Chelsea are 90 minutes away from our second final. That's how it stands at the moment anyway.

After watching our first game and then the subsequent "El Clasico" at the weekend I am strangely confident, even with the game being at Nou Camp, that Chelsea can come away with the right result tonight. The thing is, like the rest of you, I am only too aware of the fact that this is Barcelona away, this is Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Co and this game is far from over.

If we are to have a chance of the right result, we need to be focused for the whole 90 minutes tonight because Barcelona will dominate and come at us. It will be a different Barcelona performance to that at Stamford Bridge and after watching them at the weekend, their formation could cause us all sorts of problems.

Against Madrid, Barcelona switched their formation within the first ten minutes of the game from their 4-3-3 formation to a very attack minded 3-2-4-1 formation as detailed below:

Even at times, Barcelona were dominating possession so much as expected, Adriano was pushing up on the left hand side leaving Barcelona exposed at the back. The danger with the formation above is that all the players in the middle of the pitch are moving around and able to cause problems.

Dani Alves was pushed right up on the right hand side and hugged the touchline all game. Tello did the same down the left. They made the pitch as wide as possible to stretch Madrid's back four and if they were successful, their midfield had space to work in.

Unfortunately for Barca, Madrid remained in their defensive positions and for the most part remained compact and made sure they were not stretched across the width of the pitch. As a result, and like our defensive performance against them, Barcelona struggled for most of the game to break them down.

I expect maybe Adriano to be replaced by Pique tonight and Barcelona to stick with three at the back. I also expect Tello to be replaced by Cesc Fabregas and Iniesta playing on the left hand side with Fabregas in the middle. Don't be surprised if as the game gets going, Barcelona move into this formation.

So this is how Chelsea lined up against Barcelona in the first game. Obviously Ramires and Juan Mata also dropped deeper to make a midfield line of five in front of our back four. If we play the same formation again tonight it could prove costly with the way Barcelona will attack us with the formation I have posted above.

I believe the same players will start the game tonight after eight of them were rested against the Arsenal, but I would change the formation to the following:

By switching to the 4-2-3-1 formation look at the difference. There is two players holding in the middle protecting Terry and Cahill and closing down the space Barcelona can play into. Of course we expect Ramires, Mata and Lampard to drop deep once more but it's all about making sure there is no space to exploit.

It would be tempting to put Kalou in maybe down the left and bringing Mata inside at the expense of Meireles, but I would keep him in the side to begin with.

At the end of the day, Barcelona have to score against us tonight. They will come out and attack us but will also be wary of the threat that Chelsea pose from two main areas that are attacking set pieces and the counter attack.

We all saw how weak they are defending corners and if we get chances to get the ball in the box, we have to ensure the delivery is right and to take those chances as they will not come too often.

As the game goes on and the longer Barcelona haven't scored against us, they will begin to push all sorts of players forward tonight in search of goals. This is where the game can open up and where Chelsea can punish them again just like at Stamford Bridge.

Their defensive awareness when they have the ball is shocking, it really is, even Busquets pushed up against us and Madrid and left his position. At times they were left with a two on three situation at the weekend and the Madrid winning goal from Ronaldo came from Iniesta giving the ball away and Madrid opening Barcelona up to score the winner.

Don't listen to any of the doubters tonight people - Chelsea can get the right result tonight, I am sure of it. In order to do so we have to do the following:
  • Remain defensively compact including our midfield
  • Cole to watch out for Alves pushing forward - to force him the other way
  • Mikel and Meireles to keep space behind them to a minimum
  • To use Ramires down the right hand side as often as possible. Barca's weak side.
  • Drogba MUST hold the ball up tonight - it can't keep coming back
  • Chelsea MUST take advantage of set plays into the box - Barca's zonal marking is shocking.
  • Chelsea MUST also take advantage of counter attacking situations.
  • Di Matteo needs to keep an eye on tiring players and replace them instantly.
  • Someone from somewhere, needs to make a late run to the edge of the box for a pullback as Barcelona's defenders all get caught ball watching - will have time to get that shot off at goal.
I truly believe we can do it tonight, I really do. If we can make these points count tonight, we can maybe even score first and really force Barcelona into attacking us and making mistakes at the back.

In my dreams we will come away with a 2-0 or 3-0 win tonight and shock Europe, but right now I would take a 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 of course. Chelsea just need to work hard and remain focused without the ball and if they do, I can't see Barcelona scoring as they become frustrated.

It's make or break time for Chelsea tonight. We have been written off as most of Europe expects a Barcelona battering but I believe in RDM, I believe in this team and I believe we will get to the final!

Come on Chelsea!

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