While defending champion Manchester United and Arsenal warmed up for tomorrow night's semifinal meeting with weekend victories, Barcelona prepared for its European showdown with Chelsea by only narrowly avoiding a Spanish league defeat Saturday - Thierry Henry scored with four minutes left for a 2-2 draw against Valencia.
The end of a seven-match winning streak was hardly ideal preparation for tonight's first-leg meeting with Chelsea, which continued its impressive form under temporary coach Guus Hiddink with a hard-fought 1-0 win at London rival West Ham 1-0. But coach Pep Guardiola still thinks his relentlessly attacking team should be fine. "We finished like bulls," Guardiola said. "We're a machine."
Many neutrals are hoping he's right and that Barcelona can get past last season's runner-up. England has provided nine of the past 12 Champions League semifinalists in an unprecedented domination of the continent's top club competition.
Barcelona has scored 94 goals in 33 games to lead the Spanish league. "The best team in Europe," Hiddink said of Barcelona. "Or the world."