Will Thiago start tonight?
Hmm, deja vu anyone? Last season Pep Guardiola swore in a press conference when describing Jose Mourinho, and his team went on to win a UEFA Champions League. This year, Guardiola swore when describing Cristian Tello's performance at the weekend (in a good way), perhaps to deflect the criticism away from his team. However, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it hardly seemed as calculated as last year's rant....take from that what you will.
Barça are looking to make history tonight against Chelsea. After losing 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, they need to win to make it into their eighth European final, and even so that might not be enough if Chelsea get any all-important away goals. Just one goal for the Premiership outfit, and the defending champions will need to get three. And to stop them from doing that, the Londoners are likely to pack their defence as tightly as they did to such devastating effect in the first leg.
Guardiola has been criticised for his selection and tactics but, in a tense press conference, he launched into a long rant after a Spanish journalist probed him on his decision to field Cristian Tello against Madrid. "The press should attack me or the older players," Guardiola said. "He played a f****** good game. I mean most of the dangerous chances were created by him."
"This is a new situation for me because I am used to playing and I haven't had a chance in the last couple of matches," Pique told a news conference on Monday. "But it's a technical decision for the manager and he chooses who plays and you have to respect that," added the former Manchester United player. "Every year there are new players and he chooses the team he thinks most capable of winning. I take each match at a time and train hard and try to show the coach I deserve to be in the team."
Now, while Chelsea thrive under their interim coach, there is more of a contentedness to Cole. His display last week suggested as much, whether he was escaping the attentions of a gaggle of opponents near the touchline to flick the ball in-field to a team-mate – a flash of quality most assumed would have been summoned by Lionel Messi
– or quelling theconsiderable threat posed by Dani Alves
down Barça's right flank. Ramires's muscular presence in support was undoubtedly of benefit, but this was still Cole at his best. For a player who is so hampered by a persistent ankle complaint that he cannot train properly on the day after matches, the sight of him marauding up the wing and unsettling the European champions was staggering. At times, he still feels like a phenomenon.
In the five games they have played at the Camp Nou in this year’s edition, Barça have scored 18 goals. None of the last four results between Barça and Chelsea at the Camp Nou would produce a result that would serve the interests of the former side this evening (2-1 in 2004/05, 1-1 in 2005/06, 2-2 in 2006/07 and 0-0 in 2008/09).