What Chelsea Must Do To Stop Barcelona
With Barcelona almost impeccable both on the continental and home front this season, they look to welcome Chelsea to the Camp Nou in what is a delicately poised Champions League tie at 1-1. Barcelona head into the game with a much cherished away goal from the mercurial Lionel Messi and if Chelsea’s current away form is anything to go by, a win at the Camp Nou looks like an almost impossible task but alas, I’ve seen dead men walk in the Champions league.
For Chelsea to level this seemingly unsurmountable mountain-like Barcelona side, they must do these 3 things:
- Defend well and hit Barcelona on the counter: With Barcelona’s defence their most vulnerable part, Chelsea should look to attack them with utmost grit and courage on counter attacks. A defensive pairing of Pique, Umtiti and Alba seems most probable and these are attacking minded defenders who like playing the high line thereby creating room for explosive forwards like Hazard and Willian to exploit and wreck serious havoc.
- Play Giroud: One key flaw in Conte’s set up in the first leg was the lack of a target man and it limited Chelsea’s chances with crosses and set pieces. Hazard and Willian’s trickery makes them vulnerable to fouls and this will give room for set pieces that can be turned into the net by Giroud considering his height and prowess at heading balls. He could also play a similar role to that of Lukaku against Liverpool where he knocks down the ball for Hazard And Willian to chase.
- Man-mark Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquet: With Jose Mourinho making the business of man marking look attractive these days, Conte should employ that tactics to deal with threats from Messi and Busquet. Messi’s ability is not new to the footballing world, so a man should be deployed to follow him everywhere- even to the toilet if necessary. Busquet on the other hand is one of the most underrated midfielders in world football and with his amazing stat of most touches and pass completion in the reverse fixture, Chelsea should be wary of him and seek to effectively mark him out of the game.
Anything is possible in football if the right tactics are employed and a win for Chelsea will not be alien to the football world but they must get their acts right and believe in themselves.
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