It's been quite the season for Chelsea football. The Blues have shipped out the likes of Alex and Nicolas Anelka; brought in Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Gary Cahill; gotten one manager (Andre Villas-Boas) sacked; elevated another (Roberto di Matteo); fallen out of contention in the English Premier League while still within striking distance of the top four; advanced to the FA Cup final; seen Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry rise back up after premature burials—and Fernando Torres begin to follow suit.
And, perhaps most improbably, snuck through the semifinal round of the UEFA Champions League.
So, really, with all of that turmoil in toe, any signs of life against heavily favored Barcelona would have to be considered gravy, wouldn't it?
All the pressure will be on the visitors on Wednesday when the Blaugrana pay a visit to Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the semifinal matchup.
After all, it's Lionel Messi and company—not Roman Abramovich's play pals—who have a European title to defend and stake among the greatest club teams of all time to solidify.
Chelsea, on the other hand...well, they're just happy to be there. There's no telling what the future holds (i.e. whether RDM will be back on the touchline next season, which of the Blues' aging stars will seek fat checks in foreign lands, whether
Krusty the Clown David Luiz will look like Cousin It after a summer of extensive hair growth etc...).
There's really no pressure, save for the threat of Roman's laser-beam-mounted sharks, so why not leave it all out on the pitch? So what if David Luiz and Gary Cahill aren't fit? So what if Daniel Sturridge is physically incapable of passing the ball?
Nobody's expecting Chelsea to beat Barca anyway. Might as well put on a good show.
Heck, nobody expected the Blues to knock high-flying Napoli out of the competition, but they did, with a 4-1 result at home to erase an embarrassing 3-1 showing in Italy. They showed well against Benfica and haven't lost a match of any kind in nearly a month.
That's not to say that Chelsea necessarily stands a chance against the finest football club on the planet. Rather, because the Blues might not, they have no excuse to not play loose, to not give the suffering supporters at Stamford Bridge something to cheer about.