A Sting In The Tail: Chelsea Tame Barcelona In The Champions League

Possession, then, might only be nine-tenths of the law after all. When push came to shove at the Camp Nou last night, the young tigers of Barcelona were cast aside by Chelsea’s old dogs in a match of events so improbable that it at times stretch the credulity of the viewer. Such, though, has been the nature of Chelsea’s season since the departure of Andre Villa-Boas two months ago. This sacking, which looked as if it would be a signal of a failure of transition for Chelsea Football Club, might yet come to be seen as a fortuitous catalyst for a European triumph that nobody saw coming. There had been signs of late that the Catalan halo may be starting to slip. Whilst they were arguably a touch unlucky in London last week, they were lackadaisical and out-manoeuvred on home soil by Real Madrid last weekend and other, albeit sporadic, displays of fallibility have also been dsplayed over the last few months. Yet somehow the players and the system continued to make defeat in this of all ties seem unlikely. Chelsea couldn’t simply pitch up for this match, defend for their lives for ninety minutes and hope for the best, but what was to follow was the sort of evening when every chalkboard in the land gets hurled through the nearest window and the “script” (usually one written by the media rather than the...

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