It is the world's best team of last year – winners of the European Cup, the World Club Cup and the Premier League – against the side that many consider the world's best this year. Sir Alex Ferguson reckons this is his strongest team ever; Catalan commentators have described Pep Guardiola's Barcelona as the greatest of all time. Could any side other than Barcelona deny United their right to the tag of favourites? If the European Cup final is supposed to be between Europe's best two clubs, this is the right pairing.from Guardian.com
Break out the clichés. Last night football was the winner, as Barcelona stunned Chelsea with a last gasp wonder goal to advance to the final. Here's the thing. If you are an angry Chelsea fan sitting there reading this, quietly stewing over your morning coffee, it really isn't the referee, Iniesta, Barcelona or any other factor that should be the focus of your ire. It is your own team that you should be raging at.
Chelsea, a team put together at a cost of hundreds of millions, spent 180 minutes over two games with practically eleven men behind the ball, playing boring, defensive football, afraid to lose more than trying to win. Once they got their (admittedly brilliant) goal from Essien, they simply sat back and tried to place a blue wall between Barcelona and the Champions League final.
For a team full of multi million pound talent, these tactics were at best questionable, at worst, cynical. Your team has made the Champions league semi final! Play football, fools! Their display in Barcelona was downright disgusting, to anyone who appreciates the game of football. They barely ventured past the half way line at any stage, John Terry humping the ball forward to open field any chance he got. That's all Chelsea football club amount to? Pathetic, boring, defeatist tactics?
"I switched on 20 minutes from the end and heard a commentator say "...has been sent off," For the next five minutes I sat admiring Chelsea's resolve in defending with only ten men, before realizing it was the attacking team who were a man down. So let's put an end to all that "Barca didn't deserve it" nonsense right now."
From the Guardian.com
Perhaps if it was West Bromwich Albion, Malaga, Accrington Stanley, or even my own club, Sunderland, you would understand the necessity of placing eleven bodies behind the ball and praying to hold out against a team such as Barcelona. But, Chelsea? Really?
Meanwhile, Barcelona, reduced to ten men after a sham of a sending off, stuck to their guns and played passionate, attacking, free-wheeling football, and guess what, they were rewarded. The little genius Messi broke into the box, layed it off and Inesta stick it home, a simply beautiful finish to send Barcelona into dream land, and Chelsea, well, send them a little insane.
Their ugly reaction at the final whistle simply capped 180 minutes of ugly football from them. At the end of the day, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world can savour the anticipation of what could be a Champions League final for the ages.
On top of everything else, wasn't that a simply shocking last five minutes of football? What a goal! Can you image the mental strength to take your time, shape up properly, hit the ball with the outside of your boot and place it in the top corner from 25 yards out? Holy mackerel, what a beautiful finish by Iniesta.
Beautiful game 1 - Chelsea 0