Photography by Paul Cooper

Champions League semi final first leg, April 18 2012

Chelsea 1
  • Drogba (45+2)
Barcelona 0

Three years after Barcelona got the better of Chelsea in a controversial Champions League semi-final encounter, the clubs reconvened at the same stage of the competition in 2011/12. Chelsea started that season managed by André Villas-Boas, but the Portuguese had been replaced by Roberto Di Matteo by the time they were confronting Barca. Remaining at the club as assistant manager, however, was Steve Holland.

In this exclusive Masterclass, Holland – who has since worked alongside Gareth Southgate with the England men’s national team – revisits the first leg of what became an iconic Champions League triumph against a team then coached by Pep Guardiola. He provides a fascinating insight into the team selection and tactics Chelsea’s coaching staff employed to both limit the attacking influence of Lionel Messi and to maximise their own threat. The outcome was a 1-0 victory that gave Chelsea something to defend in a dramatic second leg at the Camp Nou six days later.

Starting teams and formations


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Xabi Alonso

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