Chelsea have not only survived the first 45 minutes against Barcelona, but can feel a bit unlucky to not be leading by at least one, if not two goals and playing against 10 men.
Barca, as one would expect, have dominated possession and have carried a palpable threat, especially when Messi has been on the ball, but Chelsea have created some excellent opportunities. In fact, the Blues have taken twice as many shots as the visitors and have hit both posts — Willian getting supremely unlucky twice in just a few minutes. The surprise starter after completing all 90 minutes on Friday, Willian has been full of energy and running and endeavor, and has even embarked on a couple Messi-esque runs through the middle and down the right channel.
If Chelsea can get on the ball some more in the second-half, we should certainly be able to get one or two past Ter Stegen. Barca’s defensive solidity is still based largely in possession rather than actual defending — and cynical, strategic fouling of course.
Refereeing was a big talking point coming in, and Cuneyt Cakir has largely bottled it so far, awarding fouls for Barca dives, failing to play at least one advantage, and twice letting Rakitic off the hook for a second yellow.
The less optimistic side of me will look at the first half as a missed opportunity. The more optimistic side will take heart and confidence from it. We can certainly get a result here.
COME ON, CHELSEA!