The week will begin this Wednesday as El Blaugrana will travel to Stamford Bridge and take on a Chelsea team that has been rejuvenated under Roberto Di Matteo.
The Blues come off a 5-1 beating of Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinals. David Luiz is out for both semifinal legs as he suffered a hamstring injury during the game against the Spurs.
Roberto Di Matteo will look to go all-in the first leg as he knows how tough it will be to score goals in the return leg. In Champions League play this season, Barcelona has only given up four goals at Camp Nou. Getting goals will be tough for The Blues in the second leg.
In my opinion, I don’t see Pep Guardiola changing things up for Chelsea. Like the quarterfinal road game against AC Milan, look for a defensive style of play throughout the game. This might be the type of game that Seydou Keita starts.
The Chelsea player to watch out for is Didier Drogba.
Barcelona has always had issues containing the forward whenever these two teams have met in the past and this semifinal will not be an exception. Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique will have their hands full with Drogba. The midfielders — especially Sergio Busquets and Keita — will need to stay back this first leg and help the defense try to contain Drogba.
Another player that could kill Barcelona is Ramires. Juan Mata is always a threat.
Cesc Fàbregas will see time on the pitch as Pep will look to play it safe and dictate the game with midfield control.
Of course Lionel Messi can take over this game — or any game for that matter.
Cristian Tello would be a great substitution of a game like this. Isaac Cuenca would be a solid sub as well but Tello’s speed would be too much for Chelsea’s midfielders to catch up to and hurt the Blues’ back line. Look for Tello to come in to the game to frustrate the Chelsea defenders and try and get a crucial away goal.
I see this being a tight, psychical game with Chelsea playing counterattacking football. Barcelona will control the midfield as usual, but I don’t see many goals being scored.
Other than Drogba and Messi, the one player to watch for in each team is Ramires for Chelsea and Alexis Sanchez for Barcelona.
In the end, I see the game ending in a tie with Barcelona getting the much-important away goal.
Final: FC Barcelona 1, Chelsea 1