Certainly lots of chances in the game but from Chelsea’s perspective there were far too many for Barcelona. One shut out while allowing 24 attempts is one thing, doing it twice is something else. Conversely only six attempts actually hit the target.
The energy of Ramires and his ability to get up and down the park was critical to Chelsea. Di Matteo fielded him on the left side of midfield and he provided Chelsea with a much needed outlet. When he was able to break forward from deep positions he caused Barcelona some problems and it was one such move that led to the only goal of the game scored by Didier Drogba.
Contrast how the goalkeepers passed the ball. Petr Cech went long and was largely unsuccessful in Chelsea retaining possession while Victor Valdez generally kept passes short and allowed Barcelona to build from the back.
Xavi’s passing statistics are often distorted by the number of backward and side-way passes. But a look at his “passes forward” graphic illustrates how well disciplined Chelsea were and how they plugged the centre of their defence and made very difficult to play through.
This one is a double-edged sword but I am opting for wrong rather than right. Chelsea was caught offside 5 times in the first half but had no such calls in the second half. Was it a case of learning a lesson or just not attempting to get forward as much in the second 45 minutes?
There is no better illustration of Chelsea’s game plan than the graphic that illustrates passing by each team in the final third of the field of each team. It worked this time for Chelsea can it work just as well at the Nou Camp next Tuesday?
I have never been a big John Obi Mikel fan but far a moment just consider the following graphic in relation to some that preceded it. Barcelona dominated the play and was camped in Barcelona’s half for the vast majority of the match. Only a couple of tackles, both lost, and an interception by the player whose primary responsibility was to shield the Chelsea defence. The explanation? An outstanding display of positional play I would say.
Anything that caught your eye on Wednesday?
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