Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Dominant Blues Fail To Convert Lead Into Win
It ended all square at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the round of 16 game between Chelsea and FC Barcelona. Owing to its tempo and expectations, the match didn’t disappoint as Willian broke the deadlock in the second half to give Chelsea the lead, before it was cancelled out by Messi’s equaliser, a much-needed one. The match started off calmly, with Barcelona bossing possession but the Blues creating better opportunities.
Willian skipped past players by changing his pace and struck two fine efforts on goal, only to be denied by either post. Eden Hazard too, shot two just above the crossbar whereas for the Catalans, Paulinho scuffed a header just wide. Second half was all Barcelona and a few counter attacks from the home side. Messi broke the Chelsea hoodoo by converting a fine-tuned pass from Andres Iniesta, caused by sloppy passing from the Blues, a defence that barely shook or broke.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Came off his lines to collect the ball, fed it to players rather quickly, but was a mere spectator for most parts of the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8/10
As reliable and solid as ever, Azpilicueta carefully tracked every single run made by an opposition player and won key challenges. He stuck to his basics well.
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
Good defending but very shaky and nervous in possession.
Antonio Rudiger: 8.5/10
Best defender by some distance. He let none get past him, co-ordinated well with Alonso and was aggressive throughout with his quick thinking and tackling. Rudiger spread the play with three beautifully picked long diagonals.
Victor Moses: 8/10
Good to see him attacking, taking on players and earning corners. Defensively, he was powerful and neat.
N’Golo Kante: 9/10
Every time Messi picked up the ball and tried to drift into the final third, Kante had him and the ground covered. He often broke free to tackle, burst into a slow-paced passing display and was everywhere on the pitch. He lined up his statistics with an array of interceptions. Also to add, Kante initiated a couple of counter-attacks.
Cesc Fabregas: 6/10
Kept hold of the ball decently, didn’t succumb to the pressure and was alright with the corners. However, he could have picked a few passes earlier and collected Christensen’s misplaced pass which led to the goal.
Marcos Alonso: 7/10
He defended well, pressed hard and quick when high up the pitch and won aerial duels.
Barely added anything up-front due to a lack of sharpness and his deep position, but was always around the ball while defending.
So unfortunate to be denied by the woodwork but nonetheless, Willian got his well-deserved goal with yet another sublime finish. His set-pieces were exquisite, and so were his dribbles and fouls drawn in dangerous areas.
Eden Hazard: 8/10
A fine counter-attacking threat, showed quick feet and always looked around for Willian or Pedro. His technique on the ball was top class.
Alvaro Morata: N/A
Won a couple of balls in the air but nothing much apart from that.
Danny Drinkwater : N/A
Not enough playing time.