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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barcelona vs Chelsea CL 08-09 Semi Final: Preview & Live Score

(This entry was originally published on Monday, April 27th, 2009)

Barcelona hosts Chelsea in a seemingly mouth-watering first round semi final match of Champions league 2008-09 season on 28 April 2009 at the Camp Nou stadium. With both sides have been in excellent form, it seems to be an enticing affair between two of Europe’s top teams. Barcelona might have just ended their 7-match winning streak in all competition, having drawn with Valencia 2-2 last weekend in Spanish league, and thus, cutting their lead to four points at the top of the point table. Chelsea has been in impressive form under the guidance of temporary manager Guus Hiddink. Both teams will be looking to come out with a positive result in their favor in the first leg showdown in Spain.

Match: Barcelona vs Chelsea, Semi Final, UEFA Champions League 08-09

Date: 28 April 2009, Tuesday

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)

Recent Form and Previous Record: Barcelona

Barcelona is eyeing on an unprecedented treble this season and the way they have been playing, it seems to be very possible for the Catalan side. Barcelona has already won the domestic cup title and is currently leading the La Liga point table by 4 points over second-placed Real Madrid and Barcelona now needs to hold on to their lead for five remaining matches this season to retain the La Liga title from Real Madrid. Now that they are in the last four in Europe, Pep Guardiola’s team can hope for a historic treble this season.

Moreover, Barcelona’s emphatic scoring form of recent both in Spain and Europe is good enough to make their fans hopeful about their treble success. In fact, Barcelona has scored highest 29 goals in Champions league this season at a rate of 2.90 goals per match, equaling Olympique Lyon’s record scoring rate of 2004-05 season. They scored 11 and conceded 4 goals in their last two knock out matches. Their scoring form in La Liga is also very impressive with 94 goals in 33 games.

Barcelona’s home record against Chelsea talks in favor of the Catalans with four wins and two draws at Camp Nou. Barcelona’s overall record against English clubs at home is also very impressive as the Catalan side won 19 out of 30 home games against English oppositions against only 2 defeats. Last time Barcelona faced an English club in Europe saw the Catalans winning 2-1 over Chelsea in 2005. Barcelona was eliminated from Champions league three times in the last four seasons by by English clubs including Chelsea in 2004-05, Liverpool in 2006-07 and Manchester United in 2007-08. However, Barcelona won their second ever Champions league title in 2006, defeating Arsenal 2-1 in the final.

Recent Form and Previous Record: Chelsea

Chelsea has been in excellent form since the arrival of Dutch coach Guus Hiddink on a short term deal midway through the season. Chelsea is still in the title run of premier league, though they are 3 and 6 points behind second placed Liverpool and leader Manchester United respectively with just four matches left in the season. Chelsea edged past Liverpool on 7-5 aggregate in the quarter final to progress into the last four of Champions League, before knocking out Juventus on 3-2 aggregate in the first round of knock out stage.

Chelsea’s attacking intent may not match with that of Barcelona, but one thing is, for sure, that John Terry’s team has the ability to make it to the Champions league final second time on a row thanks to the current scoring form of attacking duo Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. With Michael Essien back in action after recovering his long term injury, Chelsea has got over their midfield problem.

However, Chelsea’s away form against Spanish clubs in Europe is not impressive at all with 3 wins, 7 defeats and 2 drawn in 12 outings, but the Blues have won both of their last two matches in Spain against Valencia on both occasions and they are undefeated in last four visits to Spain. Last time Chelsea faced a defeat came four years back in 2005 when they lost to Real Betis 1-0. However, you have to keep it in mind that Chelsea has reached the semi final in Europe third time in a row, and the Blues finished before semi final only once in last six seasons.

Team News: Barcelona and Chelsea

Barcelona’s attacking line up is very strong with Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry all are in form. In fact, Messi is the highest scorer of Champions league this season with 8 goals to his credit from 9 matches. Midfielder Xavi holds the top spot when it comes to assist, equaling Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich. Barcelona also features Spanish international Andrés Iniesta who has been in excellent form this season. In the presence of Rafael Márquez and Carles Puyol, Barcelona’s defense also features quality and skill to resist Drogba and Anelka. Márquez will be back in action after spending his suspension.

Chelsea will look for another magical performance from Ivorian striker Didier Drogba who contributed with goal in each of the last five matches of Chelsea in Europe. Along with Anelka, Drogba has formed a formidable attacking line up. Chelsea’s defense will receive a much-needed boost with Captain John Terry returning from suspension, but the Blues will miss their Portuguese centre back Ricardo Carvalho to injury. Another blow to Chelsea defense is the suspension of left back Ashley Cole who has been in revelation so far this season. Terry is expected to pair up with Alex in the middle of Chelsea defense. Branislav Ivanovic might take up the place of Ashley Cole in the left side of the defense.

Carles Puyol, Daniel Alves and Sergio Busquets will miss the second leg at Stamford Bridge if they are cautioned with yellow card in the first leg. In the same way, Nicolas Anelka will also miss the second round match of Chelsea if he is booked in Tuesday’s match.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving some website links from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Barcelona will definitely start as favorite at their home ground and given their recent scoring form, it seems that Chelsea defense will be fully tested by Meesi, Eto’o and Henry on Tuesday. However, you can not just forget that Chelsea defeated Liverpool 3-1 away from home in the first round quarter final tie. So, you can not just write off Chelsea yet. In fact, Chelsea’s recent scoring form is also very impressive thanks to Anelka-Drogba pair. I just hope to see a hard-fought affair at Camp Nou in what would entertain many football fans to the fullest.

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