Chelsea Women’s Club will undoubtedly have one of the toughest fixtures in their entire season when they host the Crème de la Crème of Europe- Barcelona Femini.
The Spaniards will come to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the Champions League Semi-finals first leg.
Chelsea will be bracing to get back at Barcelona’s 4-0 humbling defeat, two years ago at the Champions League finals.
Barcelona on the other hand will come into this tie brimming with confidence as they are 13 points ahead in the league. They have been potent at the front while rock-solid at the back- 105 goals scored and 5 goals conceded.
The Blue’s head coach Emma Hayes, believes they have come a long way from Barcelona’s 4-0 defeat. They have beefed up the squad with key players that have taken the club to the next level.
Players like; Laureen James- who was bought as the WSL’s most expensive signing (£200,000), Eve Perisset, and Kadeisha Buchanan at the heart of the defense, Jelena Cankovic and Katerina Svitkova as midfield back-ups, has revolutionized Chelsea to become a European powerhouse.
The brand of football transformation to a 4-2-3-1 has made Chelsea better and players better. Short and crisp passing emphasizing possession has made Chelsea dominate opponents.
“We are more experienced than we were two years ago. For us, being in the semi-finals is something we expect of ourselves. We’ve had a lot of winning in the last two years and we’re as prepared as we can be going into tomorrow.” Said Emma Hayes in the UCL pre-match press conference.
However, Hayes will miss key players in this tie which might dent any hopes of causing an iconic upset over the European giants.
Millie Bright and Buchanan will miss the first tie due to injuries. The pair have been key to Chelsea’s best defensive record. Since their injuries, the Blues have not been the same again.
Barcelona will salivate at the current Chelsea’s defensive problems and hope their potent attackers like Asisat Oshoala, who has scored 19 goals in the league and Europe this season, or Aitana Bonmati, Maria Leon and Fridolina Rolfo can put the ball at the back of the net.
“Every team evolves. Barcelona has improved in many ways: they’ve developed experiences, changed players, and developed different dimensions.” Emma Hayes disclosed.
All said than done, this will be a mouth-watering clash between two of Europe’s best teams.