Since Jeremy gave us his take on Arsenal and Real, I figured I'd give you my take on Chelsea vs. Barca.
The Refs - The red card was questionable but I think ultimately justice was done because the previous challenge by Del Horno on Messi deserved a yellow as did his the challenge that led to the straight red. Now, about the hand balls by Geremi and Terry. I can see missing one but not both.
Messi - Wow, I wrote my first (non-blog) article about soccer primarily about how awesome he was at the U20 tournament last summer. Now that he's got a bigger stage, he just keeps getting better. He was crushing Del Horno before the sending off and he beat up everyone that followed. His chip that hit to far top corner almost became a Champions League goal for the ages. Anyone else excited to see what he does this summer?
Ronaldinho - Clearly, he got most of the attention from the Chelsea defense. While he didn't have his best match ever, he created some excellent chances and opened up the field for Messi and Deco. Just having him on the field makes a difference in the game.
Eto'o - The commentators here in the States mentioned that Eto'o beat out Drogba for African Footballer of the Year by a mere two votes. My question...How's that possible? Eto'o's goal was a textbook example of what a target striker is supposed to do - I'll grant you, Drogba didn't have much service against Barcalona but he stunk against Colchester. Maybe Eto'o will be kind enough to drop a copy of the DVD of tonights game off for Didier to use as a practice tool.
Terry - what an up and down match. He scored his best goal of the year - sadly, it went into the wrong goal. He also managed to avoid being caught for pushing the ball out of the box with both hands. On the plus side, he cleared two balls off the line either of which would have put Chelsea all the way out of contention to move on to the next phase.
Henry - So, you've all heard the rumors - where exactly would Henry play for Barca? When he gets the ball deep in midfield, he tends to run from the center of the field towards the left wing - space that Ronaldinho and Deco tend to run in. I don't see Ronaldinho being relegated to the Pires role in an Arsenal-like offense, he tends to play much more centrally than Robert. Removing Eto'o and replacing him with Henry would remove any ariel threat from the offense and devalue the fantastic crossing ability of Ronaldinho, Messi, Deco and the rest. So, while I don't doubt that Henry is frustrated by his Gunners experience this season, I don't see Barca as a likely destination. Now Real? That's another story entirely.