Chelsea have still not confirmed their new manager for next season yet are continue to buy players. Does the manager even have a say in who comes to the club? Here’s a look at Chelsea’s transfer history and how it’s affected their managers.
Didier Drogba scores Chelsea’s second goal in their 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich in 2005. Even though they lost this match, Chelsea had beaten Bayern 4-2 in the previous match at Stamford Bridge. They won the tie 6-5 on aggregate to progress to the semi-final of that seasons Champions League. The two sides are now reunited in this years final. Can Drogba score again for his side? Of the players that lined up for each side that night only Bastain Schweinsteiger remains for Bayern while Chelsea still have Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry (who will be suspended for the final) and Frank Lampard.
Tonight see’s Chelsea take on Barcelona in the second semi-final of the champions league. Chelsea manager Di Matteo faces a decision on who to start out of Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres. Torres has a good goal scoring record against Barca, scoring seven goals in ten games against the Catalans. Above is a montage of his goals against them whilst he played for Atletico Madrid. Of the two strikers Drogba is arguably more in form at the moment after playing in Saturday’s FA cup 5-1 win over Tottenham.
In football teams tend to have sides that, for some unknown reason, they don’t not always play their best against. A bogey side. There is also a theory that some players seem to always play well against certain sides. Drogba has tormented Arsenal ever since he arrived in the Premier League. So while Drogba may have scored a fantastic goal in the FA cup on the weekend, Torres history against Barca may see him in with a shout of starting. It may have a physiological effect on the Barca defenders knowing Torres is starting. He has also trained numerous times with Barca defenders Puyol and Pique with the Spanish national side, this may give him an advantage.
Personally I would start with Drogba, as he is better at being played long balls and holding up the ball, while Torres often requires the ball played into his feet or into space for him to run onto. But against Barca, Chelsea will find they face long spells without the ball and may be reduced to long balls up to their front man when they do win the ball.
So here we go again. In what is rapidly becoming a staple fixture in the Champions League calendar, it’s Chelsea vs Barcelona. The two sides go head to head in the semi-finals, with the first game being played at Stamford Bridge on Thursday and the return leg on the 24th at the Nou Camp.
This tie has quickly built up some history including a referee retiring amidst death threats, numerous penalty decisions not given to Chelsea in the ‘09 semi final which lead to Didier Drogba screaming “It’s a f*****g disgrace” on live TV. Add the odd sending off and spectacular goals and you have a tie that is hotly anticipated.
Going into the match, both sides find themselves in good form. Chelsea defeated Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final 5-1 and Barcelona overcame Levate 2-1 thanks to two goals from Messi. Chelsea have seen their form dramatically improve since Roberto Di Matteo replace Andre Villas-Boas. That is mostly due to the new defensive structure that Di Matteo has installed at Chelsea, something that will be put to the test against a Barcelona side that has scored 96 goals domestically, with Lionel Messi scoring 41 of those goals.
The Champions League has provided a welcome distraction for Chelsea as their league form remains inconsistent. Di Matteo is said to have studied hours of video footage of Barcelona’s play and says there is a weakness. One of the main issues for the Italian will be who to start with up front? Didier Drogba scored a sensational goal against Spurs and that is exactly the kind of goal that Chelsea will have to try and repeat against Barca. Barcelona are always going to win the possession battle so Chelsea may be reliant on a goal from a long ball from within their own half, which is exactly what Drogba did on Sunday. However Torres does have a good record against the Catalans, scoring seven goals in ten games against them while playing for Atletico Madrid.
For Barcelona, the formation coach Pep Guardiola goes for will be very important. Guardiola has been trying to implement a 3-4-3 system this season with varying degrees of success. However it could be argued it is because of this new system that Barca find themselves behind Real Madrid in La Liga. Messi remains the main man for Barcelona, his form this season has been unbelievable - scoring 63 goals in 52 appearances. There appears to be no major injury doubts for Barca with only Eric Abidal missing due to illness. Iniesta, Pique and Dani Alves were all rested on the weekend and should return against Chelsea. The only question is, who to drop out of Fabregas, Pedro, Mascherano, Thiago and Adriano? Quite a nice headache for Guardiola to have.
This is in stark contrast to Chelsea who played a strong first team against Spurs which resulted in an injury to David Luiz while John Terry continues to play with cracked ribs. Michele Essien did not feature in that game and should expect to start and will be expected to mark Messi just as he did so successfully in the match in ‘09. Will the lack of rest affect either side? Difficult to say. What we should expect is some sort of controversy and some fantastic football. You can be guaranteed of this if history is anything to by.