Daily Archives: April 19, 2012

Barcelona stunned as Didier Drogba gives Chelsea Champions League hope with 1-0 first-leg victory

“It may not prove a knock-out blow but Drogba has given Chelsea a fighting chance, especially if they defend like this again. They travel to Catalonia next week refusing to pay homage. To the delight of their highly vocal fans, Chelsea’s defending was immense. This was not anti-football; few of the game’s dark arts stained Chelsea’s play, barring Drogba’s occasional theatricality. There was little shirt-pulling, no filthy challenges, no baulking. Chelsea just defended well. If this had been AC Milan, Inter Milan or anybody else from the land of catenaccio, the headlines would have bubbled with paeans for such defensive virtues.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona: Chelsea score the type of goal they were trying to score, and the type Barcelona were trying to prevent
“Didier Drogba’s goal in first half stoppage time gave Chelsea a surprise victory. Roberto Di Matteo brought in Raul Meireles, with Salomon Kalou dropping to the bench and Juan Mata moving wide. David Luiz was injured, so Gary Cahill played at centre-back, and Branislav Ivanovic at right-back. Pep Guardiola didn’t select Gerard Pique, electing to play Adriano at left-back, so Carles Puyol could play in the centre of defence alongside Javier Mascherano. Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas both started. Chelsea rode their luck and Barcelona squandered chances – but overall this was a very disciplined display from Chelsea, and an extremely impressive defensive performance.” Zonal Marking

Chelsea’s Golden Night: Barcelona Are Brought Down To Earth At Stamford Bridge
“They came,they saw and they kept possession as ever, but this time they couldn’t quite conquer. Barcelona arrived in West London this evening with the sound of a Spector-esque wall of praise ringing in their ears. They’re a great side. Indeed, if it is possible to draw comparisons across the different eras of the game, then they might just be the greatest of all time. Tonight, however, when they turned on the tap in the expectation of at least a trickle of goals, they found it to be blocked with a defensive performance so obdurate that it sometimes felt as if the Chelsea defenders were only one step away from bricking up Petr Cech’s goal and having done with it.” twohundredpercent

Drogba grabs winner as Chelsea beats Barca 1-0
“Didier Drogba swept the ball into the net late in the first half, and Chelsea managed to hang on. With an inspired performance, the Blues beat Barcelona 1-0 Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal and set up a must-see second leg of the total-goals series in Spain next week. Either Barcelona will move within a victory of becoming the first back-to-back winner in more than two decades, or Chelsea will have the opportunity to win Europe’s top club title for the first time.” SI

Chelsea v Barcelona: five talking points
“Barcelona had the more accomplished players against Chelsea but Roberto Di Matteo’s ‘perfect game’ was essentially ugly but effective” Guardian


Football In Lebanon

“Football in Lebanon is a curious thing. Both a unifying force and a potential spark for sectarian violence. When Lebanon faced the UAE in their final group match in the third qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup, the country came to a standstill. Pupils were given the day off school, shops closed and the bars were packed. With the opportunity to qualifying for the final round for the first time in their history, the entire population congregated around television sets.” In Bed With Maradona

Anglo-Italian relations

“Back in 1992 West Ham looked on enviously as Sheffield United kicked off against Manchester United on a sunny day on the 15th August to start what is now the richest league in the world. The Hammers had been relegated at the end of the previous season and now had to fight their way back onto the top table, in a similar situation to this season although the Free bet sites at the time would have not been so genorous about an immediate return as they have been this term.” The Ball is Round