The first leg provided the result we predicted last week. Chelsea looked assured in defence (albeit with a bit of luck) and stung Barcelona with a wonderful flowing counter attack. Although the stats showed a different story with Barca enjoying 79% of the possession – the first time a team has only had 21% of possession and still won a Champions League Semi final. Chelsea followed up this victory with a good performance against Arsenal. Again they kept a clean sheet with Terry and Cahill looking very solid at the back. Meanwhile in La Liga Barcelona lost 2-1 in the El Clasico with Guardiola admitting the title is now Real Madrid’s. This leaves the Champions League, along with the Copa Del Rey, Barca’s main silverware aspiration.
Barcelona are strong favourites to win the match with odds of 2/7 at Betvictor (1.29 at Betfair). Chelsea to win is at odds of 11/1 at Boylesports (11.5 at Betfair). Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six games against Barcelona in the Champions League and they will be buoyed by the probable return of Drogba who missed the weekend game against Arsenal. Drogba took a bit of kicking in the first leg although to the untrained eye it seemed a lot of it was play-acting. Paddy Power is offering a few novelty markets, Drogba is priced at 10/1 to be booked for diving and they are also offering a market for number of times he is treated by the Physio. Our favourite is 5 or more priced at 12/1.
Barcelona are also favourites to progress to the final at odds of 4/9 at Bet365 (1.5 at Betfair). It must be noted however, that in the three semi finals that Barcelona have lost the first leg they have never qualified for the final. In the scorer market Messi is odds on to score at anytime at odds of 11/20 at Bwin (1.67 at Betfair). However, he still hasn’t scored against Chelsea in the Champions League! If Chelsea were to do the unthinkable and steal another victory then Guardiola will have lost 3 games on the bounce – the first time since his reign started in 2008.
I’m hoping to see Chelsea in the final purely because they’re an English club and as I’d love to see a halt on what so far has been the unstoppable Barcelona train. It’s unlikely at the Nou Camp and Chelsea will need to play out of their skins and have a lot of luck to complete the two-leg victory.