A second-half goal from the venerable Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final with Barcelona Tuesday, though the Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg is rather insistent, “Barcelona will almost certainly go through at Camp Nou.” If they don’t, however, he’ll lay the blame squarely at the feet of the indifferent Cesc Fabregas, whom he dismisses as “a Juan Sebastian Veron tribute act.”
Celebrations at full-time were long and raucous. The banter was led by Chelsea’s head of banter England’s Brave John Terry, who whipped off his shirt and strutted about the place like an ersatz Craig Beattie. Though, curiously, because he’s the skipper his armband remained on, raising the possibility that EBJT keeps a spare one strapped to his arm, wears it in the shower, to bed and during other activities the Fiver isn’t allowed to talk about in a family email. There was one minor detail EBJT and co forgot as they waltzed about the place; there’s still a second leg to be played in Barcelona next week. May regret those antics in five days lads. Could get MESSI. HONK, ROFL, LOL, PARP, etc.
For the time being though, Chelsea manager Tony Pulis has been hailed for his tactical masterclass, praise which might not have been so forthcoming if Sergio Busquets hadn’t goofed in stoppage time, the goal had been a bit taller and/or wider or if Cesc Fabregas hadn’t decided a Big Cup semi-final was the perfect time to be an indulgent show-off. Fabregas hadn’t been this casual on a football pitch since his skirmish with Phil Brown’s Hull City in 2009, when he ended up on the turf dressed in jeans and a jacket – or, as Brown put it, “dressed in the manner in which he was dressed”. After all, if one player epitomised Barcelona’s slackness in front of goal it was Fabregas, whose inclusion has compromised Andres Iniesta’s position and disrupted the best midfield in the world.