Chelsea Madness

This was one of the most pulsating, compelling, memorable and nerve-racking games in the history of European football.

The second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal tie between Chelsea and Liverpool finally ended at 4-4, with the Stamford Bridge side scraping through 7-5 on aggregate. Next is a mouth watering semifinal against the mighty Barcelona. 
Twice they were within a goal from being knocked out. The game was exciting for neutrals. I could tell by my neighbours’ shouts and screams three houses away. But for a fan, like myself, it was a nervous, unsettling experience, like being on a dangerous roller coaster ride. Nevertheless, the resilience shown by the players, especially Didier Drogba who has been rejuvenated since Guus Hiddink took over, to come back and secure the win was laudable. And the toughness they showed should bode well for the next round. 
Yet, i can’t help but be worried. In the last two games Chelsea have conceded a total of seven goals. We keep conceding like that, Barcelona’s terrifying holy trinity of Henry, Etoo and Messi will crucify us. This is the deadliest attacking force in Europe right now, having combined to score over 86 goals this year. We need to go back to fundamentals and remember that while offense can win a game, it is defence that wins championships. Hiddink should burn this into the minds of his players before they head to the Nou Camp. Otherwise, it will be another year of disappointment in Europe. 
UPDATE: Kevin McCara agrees:

Of the four sides left Chelsea looked the most disorderly. No one anticipated them scoring seven times over the matches with Liverpool or conceding five. Together, they and Liverpool came up with 12 of the 28 goals in the quarter-finals. If Chelsea have morphed into entertainers it is mostly against the wishes of Guus Hiddink. Were they to attempt to outgun Barcelona, the English club would probably be mown down. There is a lack of instant remedies for the current laxity. On Tuesday, against Liverpool, the goalkeeper Petr Cech was in the throes of a crisis so personal that it made a spectator feel like a voyeur. Somehow that has to be addressed by Hiddink since there is no credible alternative to the Czech.


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