During the days preparing for tonight’s match, manager Antonio Conte emphasised how Chelsea would need to play a perfect game if they were to make it through their round of 16 tie with Barcelona for the Champions League. This however was no longer an option as a combination of unlucky bounces between defenders in our box and bad goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois had Lionel Messi opening the score for the Catalan hosts in less than 3 minutes from kickoff.
The early goal gave Barcelona the opportunity to drop deep into their defensive third, gifting possession and attacking rhythm for a Chelsea team trying to make things happen by pressing the hosts high and often. Oftentimes the runs made by the Blues were only stopped by fouls from Barcelona, which was also a perfect setup for the English team to play some dangerous balls into our opponent’s 18-yard box.
But even if Chelsea had been doing surprisingly well for the occasion, Barcelona showed they were threats not only on possession but also in counters. And out of a major mistake from Cesc Fàbregas, the Spanish team scored their second goal of the night on a play made in its entirety by Messi, and wrapped up by youngster Ousmane Dembélé.
From that point on, Chelsea were just powerless. Barcelona kept ticking passes left, right and forward while the Blues attempted to connect long balls to their forwards from deep or wide areas on the rare mistakes made by Barça in their flurry of passes.
There was still space for a few players to shine. Willian, the man who always comes on Chelsea’s worst moments, has been our main force in attack. Meanwhile N’Golo Kanté is intent on disrupting Barça’s momentum, providing support on and off the ball for the team.
There was also Marcos Alonso. The free kick specialist almost bend a powerful shot at Marc-André ter Stegen’s goal into the net. But surely enough, our goalpost luck continues.
Hope is dwindling, but it still exists. Until the final blow of the whistle, we shall keep on fighting and wait for the best.
COME ON, CHELSEA!