Chelsea v Barcelona - Chelsea to score and win on the night!

There is no question about it in my mind - tonight's game is huge!. I personally believe that the first leg at the Bridge is much more i...

There is no question about it in my mind - tonight's game is huge!. I personally believe that the first leg at the Bridge is much more important that the away leg next week because it can either put us in a strong position or leave us with it all to do at the Nou Camp.

Should Chelsea attack Barcelona tonight and look to score a couple of goals to give us an advantage or should we remain cautious to make sure we do not concede and hope to score out there where away goals count double? It's such a difficult situation.

For me, Chelsea have to take their chance tonight and attack Barcelona. I posted the other day that Barcelona are weak in three main areas.

  • Gerard Pique gets caught ball watching time and time again and loses focus on the man he should be marking.
  • Barcelona are weak defending set pieces with their Zonal Marking.

When being attacked, Barcelona drop too deep and do not pick up the late run from midfield.
Chelsea have to exploit these weaknesses and if they do so, we WILL score at least once tonight I am certain of it.

The problem we have is obvious - the Barcelona midfield and forward line. Expect Messi to play through the middle to start with but to drift all over the place. Alexis will start on one side and Pedro on the other. These will be backed up by Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta in midfield. As we all know, Busquets will sit in front of the defence and let the other five work their magic.

To counter this, Chelsea need to stick with our new 4-2-3-1 formation. Mikel to sit with Lampard next to him. Mata to continue through the middle with Kalou and Ramires to continue either side of him. I would like to see Torres start the game to expose the lack of pace in the Barcelona defence but I believe RDM will also stick with Drogba. That's not to say that Torres cannot cause them problems but I think he will use Drogba to beat them up abit and then utilise Torres later on in the game for his pace as the back four becomes tired.

Didier Drogba can have another big game for us tonight. Forget memories of 2009, Barcelona are a different side and so are we BUT we still have Drogba's power to scare the life out of their defenders. It's important that if he does start, we get the ball forward to him at every single opportunity. If Drogba is up for the game (and why wouldn't he be?) Chelsea could win this game well tonight. Expect Drogba to have a real influence attacking corners for Chelsea along with the likes of Terry, Ivanovic and Cahill.

I also just want to point out someone else who could become instrumental in a big performance and result for Chelsea tonight and that's Juan Mata. Playing in the hole and keeping Busquets busy, Mata has the ability and quality to turn him inside out and feed balls over the top and in between their defence to open them up. It's just as important to get the ball into Mata as often as possible as it is Drogba.

All this will be useless unless we maintain our defensive shape, remain compact and do not allow Barcelona any time and space on the ball around the edge of our box. David Luiz is missing so I expect RDM to have faith in the impressive Gary Cahill to start next to JT with Ivanovic making a return to right back.

Messi, Pedro, Alexis and Iniesta will all look to ping the ball around with quick, intricate passes to open us up so it's important our defenders do not dive into pointless tackles and stand up and make Barcelona play the ball around them or force them wide.

Mikel needs to patrol the midfield in those areas tonight the whole game to support our defensive line. He has played well since his return to the team and needs another big performance tonight.

The whole team needs to work hard to earn the win. RDM spoke of Chelsea producing two "perfect" performances to go through and he isn't wrong. Chelsea have it in them to do so, we just need to make sure we see it tonight and next Tuesday.

Chelsea really can win this by two goals tonight if we play to our strengths. We must play the game at Premier League pace, we must not get involved in petty squabbles with them or the Referee and remain focused. Chelsea will create chances against this defence and we simply HAVE TO take them.

I wouldn't quite say that tonight is all or nothing as it's only the first leg but in my eyes, it's not far off!

Chelsea to score two tonight and hope we keep a clean sheet!

Predicted starting elevens:

Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (C) Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Kalou, Mata, Ramires, Drogba.

Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis, Pedro, Messi.



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