Rich Kitto reflects on Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
"We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present" - Adlai Stevenson, US politician, 1952.
In a city where the construction of their grand cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, has taken 120 years and counting, time - specifically the last three years - has flown by for the leading football team in Barcelona. For Chelsea's players and supporters, the case is quite different.
The goal scored by Andres Iniesta, in the 93rd minute of the Champions League semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge in 2009, is still firmly etched in the minds of those that witnessed events unfold, and certainly will not be forgotten quickly.
Many Spaniards and pundits alike consider Barcelona's triumph that night as the catalyst for the Catalonians, with the team then going on to secure the first Champions League trophy of Pep Guardiola's reign against a helpless Manchester Utd in the final. The rest, as they would roll out in Spain, is historia, with Barca since collecting back-to-back La Liga titles to add to two European and domestic super cups, with Champions League success secured again last season. As for Chelsea, a return of the Premier League and the FA Cup in the same period is reasonable and deserves acknowledgment, but it is the lack of success on Europe's biggest stage and regression in the league that is most recognisable - especially for an owner that expects.
So it was Wednesday night where history was set to be redressed, and after all, history must be written by, of, and for the survivors - of which there were many from the previous battle in this Chelsea team.
It was a match built up in the manner of an epic motion picture - where wrongs were to be righted, with redemption to be sought and retribution given. And without the ability to turn to an Agent J or K, Roberto Di Matteo had to look to the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to wipe the memories created by the Men in Black with the whistles and flags in 2009.
And it proved to be just the case. In a week where a different set of historic events with similar consequences were also revisited, the ship manned by Guardiola and engineered by Lionel Messi came unstuck against a huge immovable object. Chelsea's performance was titanic.
Roberto Di Matteo has done a fantastic job as interim first-team coach at the club since taking the reins from Andre Villas Boas in early March. It's fair to say that Robbie (as he 'likes' to be called by his players) has not been given much consideration for the role of permanent Chelsea manager, perhaps justifiably when looking at his track record in management - relative success with MK Dons and his sacking by West Brom last February do not tell the whole story, as this article does not intend to - but he has certainly made a strong case for himself now. He has completely rejuvenated the team, especially and most importantly their ageing stars by giving them belief and confidence, in turn halting the slide which at one point looked to be completely unhinging the bereft Blues season.
Although the ludicrous suggestions from some corners of the media were that the only way to beat Barca was to beat them up, Di Matteo picked his gameplan to perfection - press quickly, squeeze the gaps out wide and through the middle when defending, force Messi into deep positions to collect the ball and play direct with pace through Drogba when on the break.
And it was the latter two tactics that got them the crucial goal just before half-time. The extremely impressive Lampard - who sent a clear message to his detractors, former club manager and future England coach with his tireless performance in midfield - robbed Messi just inside the Chelsea half. An incisive ball out wide to Ramires was driven on and whipped in to Drogba, who although did not make the cleanest contact, did enough to force the ball past a floundering Victor Valdes. After a first half in which Barcelona as expected dominated possession, but were unusually profligate in front of goal, the timing could not have been better for Chelsea.
Much was said of Didier Drogba's performance at Wembley, with suggestions that a man who was once one of the most feared strikers in world football was showing signs that all may not be lost. On Wednesday night, the rumours were strengthened. Play-acting and diving aside which you could badge as 'experience', he was colossal in providing a constant outlet, an option, and a release of pressure against the waves crashing down on the Chelsea back line. And unlike Fabregas - who was poor throughout and should not have started ahead of Pedro - Sanchez and Busquests, who all wasted great opportunities, when the chance was presented to the Blues frontman, he duly accepted.
Special mention could go to the whole Chelsea team but recognition must be reserved for John Terry, who defended valiantly alongside a nervy Gary Cahill; Ashley Cole, who put in a Dani Alves-esque performance to keep the Brazilian full-back quiet; and the combination of John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles, who shielded their defence excellently, preventing Xavi from having the devastating effect he is capable of.
Ultimately, on a night where the majority of the nation had already written their future with the assumption of a comfortable Barcelona win, the memories of 2009 will serve to give Chelsea the presence of mind for the sequel encounter next Tuesday evening at the Nou Camp.