Champions League Semi-Final First Leg Review
The Champions League Semi Finals are always massive games for both participating sides, and the two legs are often viewed by millions worldwide. This added pressure ensures only the best of the best perform on such occasions and some certainly didn’t let down their supporters on Tuesday and Wednesday night, the evenings that hosted the two first legs.
First up, was Barcelona against Chelsea at Camp Nou. Barcelona are widely recognized around Europe for their flair and attacking playing style. With the front three of Henry, Eto’o and Messi with Toure, Xavi and Iniesta just behind, they certainly had enough firepower in their team on paper. However, Barcelona are often criticized for their proneness to give away goals from set pieces. Chelsea are known as a far more tactical and physical side, and certainly showed their defensive intentions throughout the ninety minutes. Barcelona pressurized Chelsea for the full duration of the match, with Yaya Toure arguably impressing the most. Chelsea withstand the pressure though, and for the first time all season for Barcelona, they failed to score at home. Petr Cech was the star performer for Chelsea, who kept out save after save from the ever present Barcelona attackers. The game finished 0-0, and is certainly going to be an inspiring second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
In the other semi final which was an all English affair, current Champions of Europe, Manchester United, faced Arsene Wenger’s young Arsenal side. This time, the goalkeeper producing all the heroics was Manuel Almunia of Arsenal, who kept out a number of shots, most noticeably from Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the deadlock was broken by the unlikely scorer of John O’Shea. United are favorites to progress, however, you would be mad to rule out Arsenal from giving United a footballing lesson at the Emirates.