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Barcelona v Chelsea Preview : Insightful Analysis, Line-Ups & Form Guide

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Barcelona v Chelsea Preview : Insightful Analysis, Line-Ups & Form Guide 3

Taking a look at Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg tie between Barcelona and Chelsea at the Camp Nou. The Premier League champions drew 1-1 with Barca in the first encounter, with Lionel Messi‘s late strike – his first-ever against Chelsea at the ninth attempt – offsetting Willian‘s earlier effort at Stamford Bridge.

Barcelona looked to be facing a much more difficult task back in February when they played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge than the one they have now. They went into the final 15 minutes 1-0 down, facing the prospect of having to play the second leg a goal down and without an away goal to their name. However, that man Lionel Messi popped up again with an equalizer, and now the ball is firmly in Barcelona’s court.

The weekend saw Messi miss out due to the birth of his child, and whilst they did beat Malaga 2-0 in that game there is no doubt that the Argentine will be back in the starting lineup come Wednesday, and the fact that he hasn’t played in a week will be a worry to Antonio Conte.

Barcelona v Chelsea Preview : Insightful Analysis, Line-Ups & Form Guide 4

Barcelona are now unbeaten in their last 14 competitive games since a shock loss to Catalan rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. They bounced back from that first leg loss to progress in that competition, and they have won nine of their 14 games since that loss.

Meanwhile, Chelsea hasn’t had such a fruitful year, beating Crystal Palace on Saturday but have won just four of their 16 competitive games in 2018. Five of these have ended in defeat too, including dreadful performances against Bournemouth and Watford.

Away from home, it’s even worse for The Blues. They have lost four games in a row on the road and won just two of their last 11 in all competitions. They also lost 3-0 at Roma earlier on in the Champions League, so the signs look pretty ominous for them.

One of Barcelona’s key tactics this season has been to come out of the blocks fast, trying to secure a lead before finishing the game off later on. This has, quite unsurprisingly, often worked, and 14 of their 21 home games have seen them go into the break ahead. They have won every single one of these games too.

It’s hard to look beyond Lionel Messi too. The Barcelona talisman is the second highest scorer in Champions League history, and he has netted 28 goals in La Liga and the Champions League this season. 18 of these have come at the Camp Nou, in just 16 appearances as well. He will obviously be the biggest threat to Chelsea here, and we’re backing him for our anytime goalscorer predictions on Wednesday.

STATISTICS

  • Six of the last seven meetings between these sides have ended all square, with Chelsea winning the other one back in April 2012.
  • Barcelona has won 86% of their home games in all competitions this season, and have been ahead at the break in 67% of their home games, and have gone on to win 100% of these games.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games against Barcelona (W2 D5).
  • Barcelona has won only one of their six away games against Chelsea in the Champions League (D1 L4), it was in February 2006 (2-1). They have also never kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
  • Barcelona has reached the Champions League semi-finals only once in the last four seasons. They had made it to the semis in each of the previous six campaigns.
  • Barcelona haven’t beaten a Chelsea team with 11 men since May 1966.
  • Chelsea have been shown four red cards in Champions League games against Barcelona, accounting for 33 per cent of their total red cards in the competition.

PREDICTION: Barca Win

WHAT THE COACH ARE SAYING

Chelsea Boss Antonio Conte :

“In the first leg we played a really good game – almost a perfect game – against a team I consider one of the best in the world.

“The final result gives Barcelona a great advantage. We know their philosophy will be to win the game and we have to try our best, have great concentration and keep our heads on the pitch the whole time.

“There may be times that we suffer, but we have to stay compact and when we have the ball we must in heads and hearts that we can score.”

Barcelona Boss Ernesto Valverde: 

In the first leg we saw Chelsea’s virtues. The initial result is good for us but we have to play our game and be ourselves.

“Chelsea can score at any time. They can take different approaches, they showed that in London. But when they push back and defend strong they are hard to break through.

“Maybe the secret is to keep pressing, but they are also very strong on the counterattack … and a threat from set pieces. We have to be careful about that.”

Barcelona Possible Lineups: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitić, Busquets, Gomes; Messi, Suárez.

Chelsea Possible Lineups: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses, Fàbregas, Kanté, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard

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Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality

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Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality

The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League

President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.

“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.

“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”

The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:

“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”

“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”

READ ALSO: FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of Women’s World Cup

“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.

With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”

 

 

 

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3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

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3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.

The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.

Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues

  • Paulinho

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.

Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.

He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.

The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.

In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.

Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.

Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”

  • Iago Aspas

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.

After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.

At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.

In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.

READ ALSO: 10 Premier League Players With Most Own Goals

  • Diego Forlan

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.

Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.

In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.

The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.

With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.

Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.

Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.

 

Conclusion

There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.

These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.

 

 

 

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