Chelsea has to pretty clear about how big is their task. At camp Nou, Barcelona lost an only game since September 2016. slipping up in the Spanish super cup against Real Madrid in August, in the champions league, from past nine years Bayern Munich is the only side who left with a win.
But Pako Ayestaran is in one of the few managers who silence the crowd at Camp Nou, valencia’s in charge then, who’s surprise defeat over Barca almost cost them Liga title at Camp Nou.
“It was a massive, massive result for me,” he told “Put the game in context – it was only my third game in charge of Valencia, we’d lost at Las Palmas, beaten Europa League champions Sevilla, and we were still fighting against relegation. “Barcelona were fighting for the title, and the gulf was so big. It was amazing for us.”
Here’s Ayestaran explained how he won at that time and how Chelsea do the same…..
Packing the mid-field
It is impossible to win against Barca when their midfield clear passes without any hesitation. The famous win of Valencia could not be possible without keeping things steady in the mid of the pitch, Anders Iniesta and Messi is always there to pick up a ball.
Valencia’s manager picks 3 men mid-field and ensured that all additional body is dropped back, and keep Barca’s game maker from making the game.
He said: “Barcelona will take the main role but you cannot allow them to have the ball all the time. In our game, for our second goal, we changed the roles around. Barca were the ones defending deep and we were the ones in control of the ball in their own half.
In Barcelona, you have to accept that you’re not going have much of the ball. You also have to make a decision how is going to the ball most of the time because it is very important to have the ball on the right foot when the ball is your feet.
Chelsea did this very well in first-leg. But at camp nou this ain’t going to be easy for them. In first-leg, they allowed time to the center-backs, the mid-fielders, Rakitic and Busquets, the danger is coming with them when they have a ball and passes it to Iniesta or Messi.
“Barcelona had only three to four chances in first-leg and the draw scoreline happens. They have to pack their backline and not allowed Messi to get the ball on the line.”
Dealing with the overlap
Chelsea task is much easier because of lack of Neymar in the Barcelona side. Since his departure, in summer they often 4-4-2 formation which could work in Chelsea’s favor, but if Ernesto Valverde can trust Ousmane Dembele then he could tempt into a 4-3-3 formation to make an impact against the well-organized backline of Blue’s.
“Barcelona has to get players one-v-one, and they have signed players like Coutinho and Dembele to fill the gap since Neymar has left. Coutinho obviously cannot play, but Dembele could be an option” Pako Ayestaran said.
striker or no striker?
Eden Hazard led the line well enough at Stamford Bridge, but still, Chelsea was criticised for starting without out – an and-out striker in the first leg.
“It’s more difficult to defend players coming inside because the full-backs have to decide whether to follow or not. They leave a gap if they do follow, and if they don’t they are given time on the ball” Ex-Valencia boss said.
How do you stop Messi
Messi’s record against chelsea may be not good enough but it doesnt matter he can cut them apart and will if he is in his game on wednesday.
“To stop Messi you have to close him down and hope for the best” Ayesteran’s opinion of the Argentine.
He said: “Messi is just one apart. He’s going to be remembered for many, many years and when he is at the top of his game, you have no possibilities.
Against Messi, you have to be quick, well organised and cover each other and deny him space.