Check the detailed preview of this mouthwatering clash here.

Catch TheHardTackle’s resident authors representing both Chelsea and Barcelona in a verbal duel here.

 

Chelsea And Barcelona Cross Paths Again

Roberto di Matteo’s Chelsea and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona face off in a European Champions League clash billed as a long-awaited opportunity to settle some scores. Just who the aggrieved party is, in this cauldron of bruised egos and feelings, is however not so clear.

Conventional wisdom would have it that Chelsea are clearly the party that ought to feel wronged, after crashing out of the Champions League in 2009 at the hands of some really baffling decisions by referee Ai??Tom Henning Ovrebo. You’d be hard-pressed to deny the Blues their claim that injustice was meted out to them when most neutral post-match reports would indicate they could have done with around 3 penalty decisions in their favor.

Interestingly however, the mood in Barcelona’s camp and among its supporters is just as pregnant with feelings of being wronged.

Chelsea face Barcelona, as Chelsea look to avenge their crashing out of the Champions League at Barcelona's hands. Chelsea legend Lampard calls it unfinished business, while Messi will look to put all doubts about Barcelona's progression in 2009 to rest

Blues See Red As Ovrebo Dishes The Yellows

Chelsea v Barcelona

Barcelona Are Miffed Too, But Why?

And not without good reason ai??i?? the Catalans have spent the better part of the last decade being clearly the best club side in football. Their prominence on the European stage in recent times has been the stuff of legends, and Guardiola and his men have rewritten the playbook on how the game ought to be played. The only fly in the ointment, as far as Barcelona’s been concerned is that constant reminder of their progression at Chelsea’s cost, that has dogged the Catalans like a shadow since that day.

The Spanish champions understandably therefore, with their self-belief fueled by subsequent successes and all that silverware, want a final opportunity to face off against the same Chelsea side before age withers the latter into retirement. Barcelona are clearly gunning for the chance to slay the demons of that day in Stamford Bridge, to put to rest once and for all questions about the nature of just how they reached the finals of the Champions League in 2009.

Which is what makes all that talk of this being an exercise in vengeance, all the more puzzling. Both these sides can shut their eyes and pretend all they want that this is a redux of 2009, but it simply isn’t.Ai??Revenge may be a dish served cold, and deep rooted feelings of injustice might make for better viewership ratings for the game telecast, but this game is about as much a fair recreation of the 2009 clash as a Sicilian mob boss paying a visit to his long-retired rival at a nursing home would be.Ai??That might be an exaggeration, but you get the drift.

Chelsea face Barcelona, as Chelsea look to avenge their crashing out of the Champions League at Barcelona's hands. Chelsea legend Lampard calls it unfinished business, while Messi will look to put all doubts about Barcelona's progression in 2009 to rest

At The Peak Of His Powers

Chelsea v BarcelonaAi??

Chelsea’s Decline, Barcelona’s Rise

These are not two evenly matched sides ai??i?? or even sides on the same level. In 2009, Barcelona faced off against a Chelsea at the peak of its powers under the renaissance of Guus Hiddink. Three years later, Barcelona meet a Chelsea side comprised of aging legs and cracked ribs. How this qualifies as a rematch of 2009 is beyond comprehension.

When Frank Lampard, the most level-headed player in the Chelsea squad, calls the clash “unfinished business”, you know the mood in the Chelsea camp is likely to be aggressive. And that cannot be a good thing because Barcelona play excellent football against sides that come swinging wildly at them. Sides that try to attack Barcelona end up giving the Catalans the space they need to play their passing game to perfection.

That attitude isn’t going to be good for the game, or if you’re seeking a conclusion to Ovrebogate. If anything, both sides are likely to go out of their way to play atrocious hosts. You get the awful feeling that the pitch at Stamford Bridge is going to be dug up well enough to resemble alien crop circles, in a bid to stop Barcelona’s overall slickness. The grass will be allowed to grow until there’s a reasonable chance Lionel Messi will get lost in them.

In return for that favor, Barcelona are likely to call upon that famously skewed sense of tit-for-tat and ‘draw the foul’ ai??i?? a euphemism for going to ground at the first sign of Chelsea flexing their physical prowess. Barcelona’s PR department are likely to defend their actions with the usual trotting out of defenses that would help them play the victim ai??i?? from the excesses of the Franco regime to how physicality is killing the beautiful game.

 

Lampard Looking For A Swan Song

Chelsea v BarcelonaAi??Chelsea v Barcelona

Referees And Their Thankless Jobs

None of this is going to be good for the game, or for the referees’ general health, well-being and life spans. In a high profile encounter, with both sides still stuck in a mental rut from three years ago, the men in black have no room for error. Any decisions against Chelsea are likely to add insult to injury, and reopen old wounds. And any that go against Barcelona will be seen as a ham-handed attempt by UEFA officials to engage in retributive justice.

There’s no way the referees win in all of this. But as far as they’re concerned, as long as all talk of vengeance and revenge remains between the two sides and hasn’t morphed into calls for the officials’ heads, it’s still a decent day at the office.

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7 Responses to “Barcelona Or Chelsea, Whose Revenge Is it Anyway?”

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  1. Shivam says:

    that semifinal was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. Sorry, but barcelona have been dogged by what?? I suppose trophies after trophies have dogged them. that victory opened avenues for them to improve an already gifted squad, while denied chelsea a deserved attempt to win a trophy they have long cherished.
    I am afraid i have been an admirer of your write-ups but I can’t see your logic in how barcelona were in any fu*king way aggrieved that night.
    And just so you know, the reporter thrust the words “unfinished business” on lamps, he just tried to fiddle away with those words thrown at him. of course Chelsea do have unfinished business but lampard knows better and he did not say it. And please let me know, as a fellow chelsea fan, what’s your attitude to this game?, coz i cant quite get your point. Motivation is a big thing mate. I think chelsea should and would be motivated to prove a point against old foes, in a positive sense.

    • Thank you, Shivam for that frank opinion. It might surprise you (as it did me), but quite a lot of Barcelona fans feel aggrieved at insinuations that they didn’t deserve to progress past Chelsea last time! From a writer’s standpoint, I merely try to report that without getting into whether they are right to feel so.

      Chelsea should be motivated for this game, but I don’t think this game will be a replay of 2009 in any way. The Chelsea of 2012 is not the one from 2009, nor is the Barcelona of 2012 comparable to the side of 2009. With the vast gap in performance over the past 3 years, calling this a rematch only plays into Barcelona’s hands. I think the travesty of 2009 should not be put to rest on the basis of this result in 2012 (favorable or otherwise).

  2. Shivam says:

    I suppose that might be the best way to put it, as you say. Anyhow its good we had this fixture, if nothing then there can be a closure with regards to 2009 s/f.

  3. Aditya Sharma says:

    I think the agencies behind promoting such big matches are the same ones that promote hollywood action movies.. you can almost hear a guy saying stuff like “This time, it’s personal”, or “This is the toughest battle of ‘s life”.
    This match will give zero closure; it will just add more talking points and give one of the teams more s**t to shovel on the others’ fans.
    On the bright, this is reaallly appetising for us neutrals!

  4. Shivam says:

    well then damn all closure. time to talk on the pitch.