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Are these seriously the guys who conceded five goals to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge?
If there's one thing that Chelsea's defensive performance confirmed for me, it's that Andre Villas-Boas was absolutely not the right man for Chelsea. Whatever your opinion of him may be, it's ridiculous that Chelsea's defense has been able to improve so drastically with him gone from Chelsea.
But I digress. I seriously considered making a slide for each of Chelsea's defenders just to emphasize how impressive each of their individual contributions were today, but decided it'd be better to collectively credit them for their work.
Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic performed excellently as Chelsea's full-backs vs. Barca. Of course, Cole's near-goal-line clearance for Chelsea is what sticks out most prominently in the mind of those who watched the game, but Cole and Ivanovic were impressive throughout the game.
Alexis Sanchez was kept silent by Cole throughout the game before being subbed out for Pedro, and though Cesc Fabregas had a couple of good chances to score, Ivanovic did enough usually to put Fabregas under pressure and make him miss his shots.
As for Chelsea's center-backs, they were simply incredible.
There was genuine concern among Chelsea fans that Gary Cahill wouldn't be able to fill the shoes of David Luiz, but he did so masterfully, timing his tackles to perfection time and again.
With regards to John Terry, the Chelsea captain rolled back the years, making block after block and tackle after tackle. His tackle at the end of the game when Messi's back-heel caught Chelsea's defense off-guard was truly as good as it gets.
If Chelsea's defense play this well at Camp Nou, Barca may seriously find themselves at risk of not making this year's Champions League final.