Chelsea v Barcelona: Could Chelsea achieve what seems like the impossible?

In just under a week’s time, Chelsea face Barcelona in the Champions League round of sixteen. Could Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side ac...

In just under a week’s time, Chelsea face Barcelona in the Champions League round of sixteen. Could Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side achieve what seems like the impossible and beat them over two legs? 

With all the drama surrounding our club, the constant speculation of the head-coach’s immediate future and Chelsea having only just returned to winning ways with victory over West Brom on Monday, the footballing world would install FC Barcelona as the clear favourites to go through. However, as we know, there is one team that Barcelona hate playing and it’s Chelsea.

There are those that will highlight the fact that we had born leaders throughout that Chelsea team that faced Barcelona in our last meeting, the fantastic 2-2 draw that took us through to the Champions League Final in 2013 beating FC Bayern Munich in their own back yard. The game at the Nou Camp was a pivotal moment for the Blues having seen John Terry receive a straight red card for his challenge off the ball on Alexis Sanchez and finding ourselves 0-2 down in the first half.

On that night, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba all stood up to be counted and provided the inspiration for the others around them to fight for the shirt, for the fans and for everything they have given over the years to get back to having another chance at glory. The rest they say is history as Frank Lampard played in Ramires to chip the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 1-2 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate. Then, in the dying moments, Fernando Torres scored the goal to take us to the final with Chelsea being battered from pillar to post by Barcelona searching for the one goal to take them through. Chelsea stood firm that night, dug in as a team playing for each other and frustrated Barcelona who had also missed a penalty through Lionel Messi who to this point, has never scored against Chelsea.

Moving forward five years or so and you look around the Chelsea team looking for leaders, you look around the team looking for inspiration and it’s hard to find any apart from Eden Hazard being as inspirational as he has been ever since he arrived at our club in the summer after we had won the Champions League.

You look for the key spine of the team, the core of the side that will motivate those around them, inspire them and encourage them to fight and you must admit now it’s in the development stage. Nothing seems to be in our favour especially with Barcelona romping La Liga now with their confidence high. Barcelona would be clear favourites ahead of the game and check out the latest odds with 888sport.

But, despite all this, it’s important to remember that this is the Champions League, this is the biggest club competition in the world, watched by millions worldwide and these are nights where players lift themselves to another level of football. Chelsea have a squad full of winners, those that were hear last season, to those that have recently joined the club, all with masses of experience playing in the Champions League and for their countries.

We have Eden Hazard who has already shown that he is prepared to stand up and inspire us and his team mates once this season with his performance playing in behind Alvaro Morata in Madrid against Atletico in a game Chelsea won 2-1. Post-match Diego Simeone admitted that his side had never faced a team that were so athletic and energetic and his side renowned for their organisation and discipline simply could not live with Chelsea. It’s this level of performance we need to see at Stamford Bridge next week followed by the Nou Camp in the return leg.

For Cesc Fabregas and Pedro it will be an emotional return to Barcelona having both come through the ranks there and to feature for the first team with the trophies they won during their time in Spain. Both will be keen to impress everyone watching to prove that they still have what it takes to become match-winners on the biggest stage.

As important as Eden Hazard will be for Chelsea would be Antonio Conte in my opinion. He has taken some real stick of late and at times had looked a shadow of the man that led us to Premier League glory last year. However, what better way to make a point and give a timely reminder to everyone that he is one of the best coaches in the world coupled with his reputation for being one of the most tactically gifted in the game today.

If Antonio Conte can approach the game with the perfect tactic for Chelsea having studied the Barcelona game plan, to then get the best out of his players to deliver in both legs then any calls for him to be replaced should finally subside.

Chelsea have been written off for a place inside the top four this season, given no chance to go through against Barcelona and have all but been cast aside as a team that could win the FA Cup this season. You would be foolish to write Antonio Conte or Chelsea off at any stage starting with this week. First, we take on Hull City in the FA Cup on Friday followed by the big one against FC Barcelona next Tuesday.

Could Antonio Conte and Chelsea achieve what seems like the impossible and beat Barcelona over two legs?

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