Chelsea 1 – 0 Barcelona and Round-up of the Premier League Title Race

April 19, 2012 - by mosesbet · Filed Under Sports News Comments Off on Chelsea 1 – 0 Barcelona and Round-up of the Premier League Title Race 

Chelsea are now favorites to reach the 2012 Champions League Final according to Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

I’m not sure I’d go that far if I’m honest, considering Barcalona are still unquestionably the best football team in the world, with a solid home record in Europe.

Chelsea are currently on odds of 7-1 to win the Champions League this season.  A a lot of credit has to go to the current care-taker manager and former West Brom coach, Roberto di Matteo, who brought them from the brink of exit from the Champions League after their 3-1 away loss at Napoli under Andres Villas-Boas.

I still don’t think Chelsea are favorites to go through to the final however, and even if they do, I wouldn’t fancy them against Bayern Munich on their home soil or even reunited with Mourinho at Real Madrid.

The difference between a 1-0 and 2-0 clean sheet victory at Stamford Bridge would have been huge.  At 2-0, Chelsea would have been huge favorites to go through and bring revenge on their controversial 2009 Champions League Semi-Final opponents.

A 2-0 aggregate score-line means just a single goal at the Nou camp would require Barca to score 4 (based on away goals rule).  However, a 1-0 scoreline still keeps the game level, especially given the much bigger size of the Nou Camp’s pitch and their best home performances their in La Liga.  Never underestimate the advantage of playing at home for the 2nd League of a tie.

The fact is, Chelsea got lucky at Stamford Bridge last night.  As we all expected, Barcalona were by far the better team.  They commanded 70% of the possession, completed more then three times as many passes as the Chelsea team, and they decimated Chelsea in terms of chances.  Barcelona had 25 shots (15 on target) compared to Chelsea’s paucity of two shots on goal.

Overall, Barcelona should have won by 2 or more goals last night (hitting the goal post twice), so we need to keep that in mind when looking for a return leg at the Nou Camp.  No disrespect to Chelsea – they were excellent and compact last night, but they definitely rode they luck and they still have a long way to go.  Barca are still favorites to lift the trophy at 6/5 odds (ladbrokes).

Latest Premier League Title Race News

In a bizarre twist of events, Man Utd managed to drop all 3 points away to Wigan 2 weeks ago, narrowing their lead from 8 to 5 points above their neighbors Manchester City.

With just 4 matches remaining, I’m not really interested in predicting how the title race will go.  Man Utd have a huge 5 point advantage above their rivals (who they have yet to play at the Etihad Stadium), however no Premier League game is easy.  I could easily see Man Utd slipping up against Everton this weekend, or at the Etihad Stadium, or at home to Swansea, or even away to Sunderland on the last day of the season.

In contrast, Roberto Mancini already declared Manchester City’s season was over, and they have narrowed the gap from 8 points to 5 points with just 4 games to go.  In other words, they are under no pressure at all and have the added benefit of Carlos Tevez back in their first team, off the end of a sublime hat-trick against West Brom last week.