Jump to content

How Do Chelsea Overcome Barcelona?


Recommended Posts

The question of how to beat Barcelona is one few have answered with much success in recent years. A second Champions League final is the prize for Chelsea if they come up with the solution. A referee, a penalty shoot-out and a "ghost" goal have left them cursing the fates in their attempts to win the trophy coveted above all others by owner Roman Abramovich. But to beat Barca they must have the hardest workers and the bravest defenders.

Solving a problem like Messi

Messi plays between the lines, dropping into the space between midfield and attack. Chelsea must mark him zonally, passing him on to a team-mate when he leaves their zone. This requires exceptional communication and concentration

The great irony for Chelsea is that Jose Mourinho, their former manager whose shadow still looms large over Stamford Bridge, is one of only a handful to get the better of Barcelona, notably with Inter Milan in 2009.

The Catalans claimed a "tear had rolled down the face of the game" that night, having completed 548 passes to Inter's 67. Chelsea must not, however, be afraid of embracing the Special One's blueprint if they are to prevail.

The five-second rule: when to press and when to drop off

Barcelona are devastating in attack but their ability to win the ball back swiftly is vital to their success. Albert Capellas, formerly of Barca's famed La Masia academy told me of the "five-second rule", where the team press their opponents immediately on losing possession but then drop deep if they fail to regain it within five seconds.

Once Barca drop back, they wait for precise triggers to press again. If a pass bounces off a foot, or an attacker needs to look down at the ball - as soon as their opponents' options are limited, Barca pounce again.

Chelsea must therefore prioritise simply holding the ball when they win it and breaking Barca's rhythm.

Equally, they must not be afraid to fight fire with fire and deny Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique and others the chance to take the ball into midfield and on to the "passing carousel", as Sir Alex Ferguson describes it. The goalkeeper and the back four rarely punt the ball long, and if Chelsea can force hurried clearances their greater physicality gives them a chance to regain possession.

Focus, concentrate, communicate - and never lose sight of Messi

Some teams defend with position, Barcelona defend with possession. Last season they averaged 72% possession in La Liga, and they are close to that figure again this time. But it is crucial Chelsea concentrate as hard when they have the ball as when they don't.

If Lionel Messi, as he often does, robs a defender high up the field he will be through on goal in a flash. Chelsea must always know where he is.

The question of how you mark him must also be resolved. The Argentine plays between the lines, dropping into the space between midfield and attack. If you man-mark him, he draws his marker away, allowing Xavi, Pedro and Andres Iniesta more time and space.

If a central defender steps out to track Messi, others exploit the space. Chelsea must mark him zonally, passing him on to a team-mate when he leaves their zone. This requires great communication and concentration.

Be strong, be direct

Teams who have caused Barcelona problems have been fast and physical. Chelsea will need willing runners and direct passing if they are to turn Pique and Javier Mascherano.

If Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres can offer runs in behind the Barcelona defence and Frank Lampard can ping passes over the top, Barcelona's rearguard is likely to edge slowly back towards its own goal. This will make them a less compact team and the quick short-passing game they thrive on will be more difficult to play.

Stop Busquets

Sergio Busquets protects and serves. He is the vital, central cog, the steel to Messi's silk. Only Xavi completed more passes per match in La Liga last season; only Pique regained possession more often.

Pat Nevin Football analyst

It's easy to say but almost impossible to do. Chelsea have to defend for their lives, close down all the space, then when they get half a chance lump it into the box. Not very sophisticated, not very clever but it may be their best opportunity.

Chelsea have to try to play their power against Barca. In order to do that you need to be physically strong, but you also need to have the ball and you don't get a hell of a lot of it when Barca are playing at their best.

The best attempt has been Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in losing last year's Champions League semi-final 3-1 on aggregate. He played a 4-3-2-1 system and the three just sat in front of the centre-backs where Barcelona like to play, in those little holes. If you stop Xavi, Messi and Iniesta playing in that area you've got a chance.

Busquets starts many of the moves that end with Barca putting the ball in the net. Raul Meireles is likely to start just behind Chelsea's front man, but his main responsibility must be to deny Busquets time to lift his head and feed Barca's most potent attacking threats.

Start with a bang and target set-pieces

Occasionally Barca take time to warm to their task. Of the 37 goals they have conceded this season, 18 have come in the first 15 minutes of either half. Much of this has to do with the rhythm of their famed tiki-taka possession game - it takes time for the carousel to gather momentum.

An early goal would breathe life into Chelsea's hopes and lift the players and fans. Another area where Chelsea will have an edge is set-pieces; Barcelona are only likely to have two players over six feet in their side.

Chelsea v Barcelona in the Champions League

2008-09 - semi-final

Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea; Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (Barcelona win on away goals)

2006-07 - group stage

Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona; Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea

2005-06 - last 16

Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona; Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea (Barcelona win 3-2 on agg)

2004-05 - last 16

Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea; Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona (Chelsea win 5-4 on agg)

1999-2000 - quarter-final

Chelsea 3-1 Barcelona; Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (Barcelona win 6-4 on agg)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Drogba is key.

Barcelona are at their weakest when you put the defense under pressure, they have conceded a lot of goals in La Liga this season and if Chelsea and Drogba play to their best you just never know. Of course it’s all well and good saying they are weakest at the back but not many teams can exploit that due to the possession and pressing Barca use.

Sadly Chelsea’s weakness is also at the back and if Arsenal can hit them for 5 you wonder what a free flowing Messi, Xavi and Iniesta could conjure up at the Bridge but hopefully they will no be at their best…more hope than anything.

Will players like Drogba be fresh after Sunday’s powerhouse performance to destroy Spurs? Lampard rarely plays twice in 3 days and you have to wonder if these guys will be at their best come tomorrow night.

Most recent games have been close but this is not Jose’s or Hiddink’s Chelsea this is RDM older, tweaked side which is struggling domestically but belief should be taken from the past few weeks where results have been positive for Chelsea.

Heart says Chelsea…Head, shoulders, knees and toes say Barcelona.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the OP there is a statistic given i.e. Barca completed 548 passes to Inter's 67.

I have only recently began to notice how many passes Barca make that are completely unnecessary - wee tip-taps between for example Xavi and Iniesta which achieve absolutely nothing. Then you see Xavi's match stats of something like "100 passes, 98% complete" - no wonder.

That's not to take anything away from the football they play, by the way. I find them a joy to watch overall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everybody knows the best tactic to beat Barca/Spain is sitting deep and letting them play on front of you. The key to carrying it out successfully is concentration, organisation, communication....

Barca tend to give away chances in these matches as shown in recent years against Arsenal but it will take a hell of a performance and probably some luck to restrict them from scoring.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the OP there is a statistic given i.e. Barca completed 548 passes to Inter's 67.

I have only recently began to notice how many passes Barca make that are completely unnecessary - wee tip-taps between for example Xavi and Iniesta which achieve absolutely nothing. Then you see Xavi's match stats of something like "100 passes, 98% complete" - no wonder.

That's not to take anything away from the football they play, by the way. I find them a joy to watch overall.

I know what you mean, sometimes it looks like they are passing to get their statistics up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

theres only a few times that can go at barca directly.

i remember madrid tried it last season when Mourinho felt the time was right, had a high backline, pushed high up the pitch...and got thumped, 5 put past them.

but now, madrid have grown into a team capable of pressing and going like-for-like with Barca, and imo, outplayed them in the last 2 clasicos, the only lacked in finishing chances.

Chelsea aren't suited to that though, and thats where AVB went wrong, he tried a 4-3-3 system with the players high up the pitch... but it was a bit like teaching an old dog new tricks.

Chelsea can give Barca a rough night if they jsut stick to their own style of play. Surrender possession to Barca, but pack the midfield and defence with the likes of Lampard, Essien, Mikel, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, and say to them "break us down if you can" - and if you lose possesion, deal with the long ball up to Torres and Drogba, who have the speed & power to really hurt whoever Barca chose to play at the back.

i think it will be an interesting tie, but an early Barca goal could really hurt chelsea.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure they are ..........

They are on another planet from all the rest and have been for years .

Yeah I'm on a windup :lol:

Will be surprised if Chelsea go through over the two legs but I'd back them to get a draw tomorrow. I don't think they'll be able to resist Barca at the Nou Camp though (tu)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I'm on a windup :lol:

Will be surprised if Chelsea go through over the two legs but I'd back them to get a draw tomorrow. I don't think they'll be able to resist Barca at the Nou Camp though (tu)

Don't see it , Barca both legs for me , Chelsea are dire ......

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't fear them, and don't tailor your game to them any more than you would any other team.

Barca's defence is pretty poor, so the chances will come.. When they do, Chelsea can't afford to miss.

Set Pieces will be key, Barca won't be able to handle a corner coming in to Drogba, Terry, Cahill etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't fear them, and don't tailor your game to them any more than you would any other team.

Barca's defence is pretty poor, so the chances will come.. When they do, Chelsea can't afford to miss.

Set Pieces will be key, Barca won't be able to handle a corner coming in to Drogba, Terry, Cahill etc.

Haha , priceless stuff .........

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Upcoming Events

    • 03 December 2020 20:00 Until 22:00
      0  
      Rangers v Standard Liege
      Ibrox Stadium
      Europa League

×
×
  • Create New...