Chelsea's Blessing: Why Inter Milan Will Reach the Champions League Finals
Inter are going to the Champions League Final.
There, I've said it.
Although there may be many non-believers, when you analyze the teams and past history, it will become clear why.
Barcelona may play near perfect football but that does not always guarantee victory. This was proved last year in Barcelona when they played against Gus Hiddink's Chelsea and also this year against a stubborn Mourinho's Inter.
Clog up the breathing space in the midfield and Barcelona will stutter.
Last year, Iniesta's wonderstrike proved to be the difference, but this year they made it tougher on themselves by going two goals down to a resistant Inter side.
Barcelona may have the best players in the world but Mourinho sure knows how to stifle them up with a well crafted game plan. A game plan that seems to be working to perfection.
Barcelona are playing the second leg at home but that still does not change the fact that they still have to face the same Inter side—with the same players and tactics.
Guardiola had the comfort of being the luckiest manager alive with the current crop of amazing players at his disposal, but now he needs to assert himself and prove to be a worthy manager.
Inter will come with the idea of cutting down the breathing space and the supply lines for Ibrahimovich. They will again kick and curb the space available for Barcelona.
They are going into the match knowing they are two goals up and only need to defend. Can Guardiola craft a worthy game plan that can use this knowledge to their benefit?
The referee also did not help Barcelona in this leg, but that is no reason to complain. Last year Chelsea were in a much worse boat with a similarly minded referee, only they were down a goal in the second half of the second leg with the referee making many wrong calls.
Although Chelsea does bring up an interesting statistical opinion.
The last six years the team that has defeated Chelsea has gone on to the finals of the Champions League, four of those teams winning it. You could call it the "Chelsea Blessing."
In 2003-2004, it was Monaco that knocked out Chelsea to set up a showdown with F.C. Porto in the final.
In 2004-2005, Liverpool under Rafael Benitez defeated Chelsea and then went on to the finals and won the Champions League against AC Milan.
The subsequent year Barcelona defeated Chelsea and proceeded on to the finals to face Arsenal and won the trophy.
In 2006-2007, it was Liverpool who defeated Chelsea to reach the finals to face AC Milan again. They lost to AC Milan.
In 2007-2008, when Chelsea finally reached the finals, it was Manchester United that defeated Chelsea to lift the cup.
Last year, it was Barcelona again that controversially defeated Chelsea to then proceed to the finals to face Manchester United and win the competition.
And what happened this year?
It was Inter that defeated Chelsea and now they have a two-goal lead over Barcelona.
If there is any solace, the pattern indicates that Inter might not win the Champions League after all.
If you look at the history and form a trend you will see Loss (Monaco in 2004)—Win (Liverpool in 2005)—Win (Barcelona in 2006) followed by a Loss (Liverpool in 2007)—Win (M.U.F.C in 2008)—Win (Barcelona in 2009). So the trend predicts a loss for Inter.
Do you think Barcelona can buck the trend?
Can they break the "Chelsea Blessing" that shields Inter from any harm until the finals?
We will just have to wait and see.
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