I can't say I was particularly surprised by Real Madrid's win at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Barcelona have looked a little bit off the pace for some time now - they weren't at their best at Levante, they certainly didn't play that well at Stamford Bridge and they then failed to find their form at home in a game that, if lost, meant their chances of retaining the La Liga title were toast.
Now they have one thing to play for this year (assuming they don't care about the Copa del Rey, which we can assume they don't): Beating Chelsea on Tuesday and then winning the Champions League. Fun!
We will see on Tuesday whether we will pass this test, but I think the players will lift themselves up and look at the manner of how things will go against Chelsea. What happens against Chelsea will mark the rest of our season. Although the guys have not had long to recover, they have had setbacks like this before and risen to the challenge.
-Pep Guardiola. Source: ESPN Soccernet.
I'm slightly worried that a lot of Barcelona anger's going to end up taken out on us this week, but leaving that aside, Chelsea have an opportunity to really, really really really make some history by knocking Barcelona out here. Our opposition have ruled the roost in Spain and Europe for years now, and it would be absolutely delicious to finish off the work Real Madrid have started as a measure of revenge for 2009.
I want this. I want this really, really badly. I'm not going to be unrealistic about our chances of pulling off what would be a major upset, because we're not particularly likely to reach the final, but after weeks of pretending like this tie didn't exist out of sheer dread... man. This could actually turn out ok.