Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Respect, Not Abuse Must be Paid to Chelsea

Someone really ought to tell Barcelona and its numerous decidedly bitter fans, that playing admirable, attractive and elegant football does not automatically mean that they are the one side to deserve any credit or praise, and certainly does not mean that they have a special, or 'divine' right to progress into the Champions League final ahead of anyone else.

It seems many Barcelona supporters have deluded themselves into thinking that very thing. The Catalan press have already leapt to the defence of the defeated Barcelona, who were ousted from the Champions League competition across two semi-final legs against Chelsea, calling the English side "stingy", "cowardly" and "vulgar".

Unable to accept that Barcelona simply could not handle the way in which Chelsea set themselves up, despite John Terry being dismissed before half-time, Sport.es said:

[Chelsea are] ...unworthy of a competition as big as this. Their ultra-conservative tactic led them to defend tooth and nail with all players in the area of Cech. It's amazing how, with so little, they were able to score three goals in 180 minutes.

How ungracious, how pathetic, how grossly self righteous must some people be, to be so overtly dismissive of the outstanding performance that was put in by the opposition? How incredibly disrespectful and blind must people be, to blame and lament others strengths and ignore your own obvious weakness.

It is deeply unfortunate that so many will look to Chelsea's defensive display of power, aggression and resilience, seeing it as inferiority, weakness and cowardice rather than at Barcelona's frustrating inability to break down a side who were not only down to ten men, but also without its captain and its other main centre back at the heart of the defence, for the majority of the game. The Spanish outlet continued:

Unjust, cruel, horrible... Any adjective is not enough to describe the incredible Barca elimination at the hands of Chelsea.

The extraordinary amount of egotistical arrogance that such a view requires is quite astonishing, and it does require a great deal of ignorance to take away from Chelsea the effort they exerted throughout the 180 long minutes across the two legs.

The Barcelona players were far more gracious in defeat, remaining on the pitch to congratulate the Chelsea players on their fantastic achievement. They had, after all, just eliminated the current European Champions from the European Cup across two undefeated games, the second of which, they were down to ten men. Scoring a goal against Barcelona at the Nou Camp is often considered an achievement in itself, but scoring two with a man less? That's rather impressive.

"Beautiful football" is exactly what it says it is. It's beautiful, and it can, and often does win Barcelona games. The majority of teams cannot compete with their outrageous attacking power, intricate passing, superior technical ability and the general talent of the side, often praised as the best team in the world.

But when these essential qualities fail to work, and the side fail to break down the opposition, the blame is immediately and unfairly shifted - to the opposition who halted them - those who stopped them from playing their football.

It seems ludicrous to me that while so many scream and shout endless praise for what Barcelona do best, the same people are just as passionately against anyone else from showcasing their best abilities too.

No-one can match Barcelona's attacking talent and superb style of play, but as Chelsea have shown, with the right amount of resistance, vigour, strength and luck, anyone who dares to challenge the Champions can become Champions themselves, and certainly deserve some respect.

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