The game at the Nou Camp did not start as per plan, as Barcelona took the lead in the 3rd minute of the match, with a Lionel Messi goal. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors, when Dembele added a second goal, while the Blues were slowly rebuilding and playing better football. With Antonio Conte now needing a couple of goals in the second half or facing a potential exit from the Champions League, things will be tough for the Premier League champs, who can’t afford to concede any more goals.
The west London outfit have been really poor so far in the opening 45 minutes and they will have to improve on their present performance.
Here are three reasons why they have struggled so far and what changes they need to make, if they wish to make something out of the tie:
1. Take Fabregas Off-
He is the reason that the visiting side conceded the second goal in the first place. He does not have the energy to cope with Barca’s pace anymore and he needs to go. The Spaniard also missed a good chance to score and give his team some hope and if he is as clumpsy as he was in the first half, things will only get worse for the Londoners.
They are need of some youth and energy that can give them the push and desire to make Barca work for a win. At present, they are going through to the next round easily and there is no challenge for them.
2. Pathetic Defending-
If there was something that would have made the Italian manager proud in the first leg of the tie, it would have been defending. Apart from that Courtois also looks like a player, who wants to just leave and join Real Madrid in the summer. He could have easily done better for the opening goal and has put his team under pressure once or twice.
He is either nervous due to the occasion, which he surely should not be, as he is really experienced and has played in the La Liga before or is just not having the same desire as some of his opposition players. The other defenders have not been up to the mark as well and though some credit does go to the Catalan giants, they have still not shown anything extraordinary thus far. Also, Fabregas to be blamed defensively yet again.
3. Giroud and Hazard are invisible-
The team needs to play the ball more to Giroud and Hazard, who are looking like they do not exist on the pitch, apart from certain boosts of energy in between, which vanishes instantly. Some of the runs made by the Belgian international have been really disappointing thus far and he was not really tested the Barca defence, with his usual set of runs.
Giroud on the other hand needs to make life miserable for the opposition and push them back or less Conte will have to make some sort of change up front for the goals that he will be needing now.
45 minutes more to get at least a couple of goals and no concede any. Let’s see what happens.