Big Match Breakdown: Chelsea v Barcelona
Nick Murphy | 20 February 2018
Tips, stats and team news ahead of UCL clash
The Champions League last-16 continues this evening as Chelsea host Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s men head into the game on the back of two straight wins following victories over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City. Barcelona have lost just once in their last 38 matches.
The Coral News Team have looked over all the key areas ahead of the match in another Big Match Breakdown…
These two are no strangers to each-other in the Champions League. Chelsea and Barcelona have met 12 times since 2000. The West Londoners are unbeaten in their last seven matches against the Catalan giants. They’ve only ever lost once to the Spaniards at Stamford Bridge.
The last two-legged tie between the two sides came back in 2012. The Blues won 1-0 at home before scraping a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp to secure a place in the Champions League final.
Antonio Conte could recall Alvaro Morato to the start XI in place of January signing Olivier Giroud. Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses are also expected to return at wing-back. Tiemoue Bakayoko is available but unlikely to start.
Philippe Coutinho is ineligible for the visitors after featuring for Liverpool in the group stage. Ernesto Valverde has a decision to make over whether to start Paulinho or Ousmane Dembele in the number ten role behind Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
The outcome of this match will depend on Chelsea’s ability to contain Suarez and Messi. Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta will have to remain resolute throughout if the Blues want to take any sort of advantage back to the Nou Camp.
The role of N’Golo Kante will also be key in breaking up Barca’s midfield domination. If he can do that, then Moses, Alonso and Hazard provide outlets to feed the physical Morata up-front.
Games involving these sides tend to produce goals. Each of the Blues’ last seven matches have seen three or more goals scored. The visitors, by contrast, have bagged 15 goals in their last seven outings.
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi are considered Barcelona’s most likely goalscorers. The pair have bagged 47 goals combined so far this season, although Messi has failed to score against Chelsea in eight previous appearances. They’re both available at 23/20 to Score Anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing