Chelsea Club Focus - Euphoria at Stamford Bridge but absences could take toll on Champions League final
Roberto Di Matteo has done it. He has led his Chelsea side to the FA Cup final and now the Champions League final - a feat that was not deemed possible just a couple of months ago.
It was everything you could have wished for in a semi-final of Europe’s elite competition. Who would have guessed before the game that the Blues’ captain John Terry would have a rush of blood and be sent off? Who would have guessed there would be four goals? Who would have guessed that the world’s best player would hit the crossbar with a penalty?
But one thing that was less of a surprise was Chelsea’s heroic defensive performance. The West London club have now only conceded eight goals in their last 10 games - and this performance at the home of the Spanish giants will go a long way to proving just how stingy the Chelsea defence has become.
Yet when the dust settles, it will begin to dawn on the Chelsea supporters that although Barcelona have been brushed aside, Chelsea go in to the final missing four players due to suspension. Terry, Raul Meireles, goal scoring hero Ramires and right-back Branislav Ivanovic will all miss the showpiece final in Munich.
After the game Didier Drogba underscored just how important the missing quartet would be for the final, telling the BBC: “We are sad for Terry…John and Branislav Ivanovic are going to be banned for the final… we have lost two of our best players.”
And it seems that most of the frustration coming from fans is being pointed towards Terry. The skipper was shown a straight red for card kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the small of the back and judging from these comments on Chelsea fan site Chelsea - The Offside it seems they are finding it hard to swallow. One poster remarked: “What can you say? Stupid, stupid from JT. absolutely no need,” while another added: “Utter stupidity from a hyper-experienced captain like Terry. Can't stand to see people blaming Sanchez and the refs.”
It is going to be a challenge for Di Matteo to pick a side to really compete against either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the final. Fortunately Roman Abramovich’s millions mean that there is a good squad full of players that could do a job for the interim manager.
But Chelsea fans will not be worrying about that just yet. They are going to bask in the glory of being in the Champions League final and kick back and witness the second semi-final as delighted neutrals. And as for the suspension crisis, that is down to Di Matteo to sort out - and he has not done too badly so far.
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