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Drogba and Busquests / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

In his tactical analysis in The Guardian, David Pleat noted: “Di Matteo planned a strategy that worked – compact, disciplined and compressing the defensive space, semi parking the bus in a fashion that was reminiscent of the Special One, the club's former manager”, concluding: “Chelsea had their share of luck but, led by the centre backs, Terry and Cahill, and with Cech top-class behind them, they deserved their survival. Pep Guardiola's side waited and waited and waited but finally ran out of time”.

Drogba: “maddening and magical”

Also in the Guardian, Richard Williams pointed to Didier Drogba as the main man for Chelsea, claiming: “the Ivorian striker can be as maddening as he is magical – and Barcelona experienced both those qualities”, whilst his colleague Dominic Fifield reckons: “ the "perfect game" Di Matteo had craved was essentially rather ugly but always prone to be effective”. In The Daily Telegraph Jason Burt admitted: “even the most diehard of Chelsea fan would have accepted it was a scoreline of outrageous fortune”.

Chelsea “need to do it all again on Tuesday”

In the same paper, Paul Hayward writes: “Pep Guardiola’s alchemists can flick away most obstacles but Chelsea have a knack of not budging. The world’s best team had 24 attempts on goal to Chelsea’s four but still go back to Catalonia trailing in this tie. Not often do we get to view them as mortals who can be tactically undone. The chances are we will not see a repeat of it when the clubs reconvene at the Nou Camp on Tuesday”. Phil McNulty on the BBC Website also looked to next week’s return game, claiming: “Chelsea will have to produce all they did at Stamford Bridge and more besides – but at least they travel to Catalonia with a precious lead to protect, presumably in the same manner they did on Wednesday. Chelsea now need to do it all again on Tuesday – but suddenly the weight of pressure has switched to Barcelona”.

“More space for Messi at the Camp Nou”

Maybe the underlying message in the media though, was that Barça’s superior football could be withstood in a one off game, but over two legs it could be another story. Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson made the point on the BBC site that: “It was a great result for Chelsea on Wednesday night, but we have to be totally and brutally honest about it. In the first 20 minutes Chelsea had an awful lot of luck and then, late on, Barcelona hit the post . I still make Barcelona favourites to progress to the Champions League final. Next Tuesday in Spain I think Barcelona will create a whole host of chances. Even on a bad day they create chances! There will be more space for Lionel Messi on Barcelona's big pitch at the Nou Camp, which in terms of the tie could be absolutely crucial”.

 

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