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16.04.2009 11:27

Chelsea: Different components, same spirit

Edgar Fornós

FC Barcelona’s next opponent in the Champions League, Chelsea, has changed some of the components of the squad that faced Barça in the 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/2007 competitions but retains the spirit of a winning team.

Chelsea has become one of the rivals to beat in recent years in the Champions League. Last season, they came within a whisker of lifting the trophy against Manchester United but lost out in the penalty shootout. Since José Mourinho left the club, the manager’s bench has been occupied by Avram Grant, Scolari and, since last February, Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.

Players in and out

decolampard.jpgChelsea has brought in some new faces this season including former Barça star Deco, Portuguese defender Bosingwa and Ricardo Quaresma, from Inter Milan. A number of players have moved in the opposite direction, with Shevchenko, Wayne Bridge and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini all leaving the club

Essien and Drogba

drogbaaaa.jpgGhanaian midfielder Michael Essien returned to the team last month after an eight-month layoff due to a knee injury. He lines up in a powerful midfield with Ballack and Lampard. Meanwhile, Drogba, Chelsea’s top scorer in the Champions League with five goals, is in great form at this final stage of the season. He forms a deadly striking duo with Nicolas Anelka, who himself leads the goal ranking in the Premier League with 15.

A hole at left back

The main problem for Guus Hiddink is at left back. Regular occupant Ashley Cole is serving out a match suspension and won’t be available. His natural replacement would have been Bridge but he left the club in the winter transfer window. Another possibility would have been Paulo Ferreira but he has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury.
Chelsea: Different components, same spirit
Chelsea getting stronger
Chelsea finished second in the group stage behind Roma. They then had to tackle two tough opponents in the knockout rounds: firstly Juventus (R16) and then Liverpool in the quarterfinals.

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