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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 17:36 GMT
Beating Barca
By Alistair Magowan

Chelsea face the mountainous task of overturning a 2-1 deficit when they go into Tuesday's second leg of their Champions League tie against Barcelona.

Against some of the best attacking talent on the globe, what tactics should Jose Mourinho employ in the Nou Camp?

BBC Sport asks football experts in both countries how they think Chelsea should approach the game.


It would be easy to label the tie as a battle between the attacking glamour of Barcelona and the efficient solidity of Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho and Frank Rijkaard
Mourinho and Rijkaard go head to head for the fourth time in two seasons

That though would ignore the fact that Mourinho's men need to score twice to win.

But former Liverpool striker and leading Spanish football TV presenter Michael Robinson thinks Chelsea should stick to what they are good at.

"Chelsea have to be faithful in their own way of playing football," he said.

"They play almost by memory and then with a certain eloquence when it gets wide and the midfield players come forward.

"If they want to come out of their own script and want to improvise then I think they'll get hammered."

And former Chelsea midfielder Gavin Peacock believes their formation will allow them the flexibility they need in such a crucial encounter.

"A lot of people are wondering if Jose Mourinho will play two up front because they need goals, but I think Chelsea need to go out there with a patient attitude.

"They'll break from a position of strength, get good possession and then get people moving forward from that.

"They won't fly forward like they did at the game at Stamford Bridge last season where they were 3-0 up in 20 minutes.

"Their system works if you've got two goalscoring wide players like Mourinho has with Arjen Robben, Joe Cole or even Damien Duff.

"It allows you to be really offensive as a 4-3-3 or tight as a 4-5-1 playing on the counter-attack.

"As well as the front three, you've also got Frank Lampard and Eidur Gudjohnsen in midfield who can weigh in with goals."


"Mourinho will play it tight and frustrate Barca in the wide areas which were key for them at Stamford Bridge," explained Peacock.

"Crucial for Chelsea will be William Gallas. If he's playing left-back he'll be tight on Lionel Messi with Paulo Ferreira doing his job on Ronaldinho.

"Gallas is one of the best defenders around. He loves to defend. Messi will certainly have a tougher job than he did against Asier del Horno.

"And between John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho they kept Samuel Eto'o pretty quiet until they went down to 10 men.

"So it might not look that bad from a defensive point of view."


Stopping Ronaldinho, Messi, Eto'o, Deco and Henrik Larsson from the bench might sound like plugging a gap in a leaking dam.

But only last month Atletico Madrid went to the Nou Camp in La Liga and won 3-1.

Robinson added: "If you can keep the football away from Barcelona then they will suffer.

"If you look at all their players, they love to have the ball and if they haven't got it they almost become widowed.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi will have less room against William Gallas

"Barcelona are not a team which likes to chase the ball, to play behind it or follow players around the pitch. In fact they defend by attacking.

"Teams that have had any sort of good result against Barca are the teams which have managed to keep the ball away from them.

"It's about starving the creative players like Messi, Ronaldinho and Deco. If those players haven't had it for a while they get cold.

"And when they do get the ball they'll feel they've got to compensate so they'll start getting more complicated with the ball which can lead to errors.

"One of Chelsea's assets is attacking quickly, but I'd get them to keep the ball for keeping's sake."


Michael Robinson: "There is definite caution here (in Spain). The tie isn't decided yet.

"I think Barca will win but I'm not sure. They are the most exciting football team I've seen in many, many a year.

"But if there is one team in Europe who I think could turn this around it would be Chelsea.

"There are two very contrasting styles and it depends who slams their fist on the table in the first 20 minutes and says, 'we're playing like this'."

Gavin Peacock: "The first goal is all important in this game.

"If Barca score first I don't think Chelsea will get through. If Chelsea score first then I think they've got a great chance."

Barcelona v Chelsea
06 Mar 06 |  Europe
Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona
22 Feb 06 |  Europe


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