What Barcelona and Chelsea learned about each other at the weekend

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Apr 24th, 2012
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Chelsea's Didier Drogba attends a training session with his teammates at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, April 23, 2012. FC Barcelona will play in a Champions League semifinal second leg against Chelsea next Tuesday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Chelsea earned a credible draw at Arsenal on Saturday as manager Roberto Di Matteo rested eight players ahead of his side’s trip to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Just hours later, Pep Guardiola’s Catalan giants lost to their bitter rivals Real Madrid, effectively handing them the La Liga title in the process.

Ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg clash, Sportsmail looks back at what the two sides learnt about each other.

One down, one to go: Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into the second leg in SpainOne down, one to go: Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into the second leg in Spain

WHAT CHELSEA LEARNT ABOUT BARCELONA

1 Barcelona are not impregnable at the Nou Camp. The run of 34 successive league matches and 54 in official competitions without defeat is finally over.

2 The back three Pep Guardiola is likely to employ as his team try to overhaul their one-goal deficit is vulnerable. Carles Puyol was no match for Cristiano Ronaldo’s burst of pace and the left wing is an area Chelsea can look to exploit.

3 As Didier Drogba showed last week, Barcelona do not like the opposition being slow to get the ball back into play. They got frustrated by Mesut Ozil’s fairy steps to the corner flag and worried about seconds ticking away.

4 Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso showed how it is possible to stop Lionel Messi by cutting off his supply, pushing him deep.

5 Pack out midfield and push Barcelona out wide. Real often formed a triangle when they did not have the ball, with Ronaldo and Di Maria tucking in, making it difficult for Xavi and Iniesta to weave their magic.

Off form: Barcelona host Chelsea on the back of a defeat to rivals Real MadridOff form: Barcelona host Chelsea on the back of a defeat to rivals Real Madrid

WHAT BARCELONA LEARNT ABOUT CHELSEA

1 Roberto Di Matteo does not have a surprise in store. By resting most of his team, the interim manager gave a big clue as to who will play in the Nou Camp.

2 Rumours of Fernando Torres’s demise are not greatly exaggerated. Torres is not the same player who scored seven times against Barca when he was at Atletico Madrid.

3 It will not be necessary to exercise any buy-back clause in Oriol Romeu’s contract. Romeu has lost his way at Chelsea since a promising spell early in the season.

4 Petr Cech can be a very frustrating figure. Cech’s confidence has been restored since the Chelsea defensive unit reverted to what it does best, sitting deep and fighting hard for every ball.

5 Chelsea are riding their luck and starting to believe it may be their time. Arsenal created chances but were wasteful, just as Barcelona had been three days earlier. Laurent Koscielny and Robin van Persie hit the woodwork at the Emirates on Saturday.

 

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