The Barcelona vs. Chelsea Champions League match is the most anticipated game this week as Lionel Messi and company look to secure their progress to the quarterfinals of the competition, reports The Sun.
The first leg in the Stamford bridge ended 1-1 with a goal apiece from Willan and Messi. Considering the performance, Chelsea should have won the match, which would have put them in a comfortable position before the game in the Camp Nou. But failing to convert their domination into goals and a deadly mistake at the back, which allowed Messi to score an opportunist goal, cost Chelsea dearly.
It is intimidating for any teams in Europe to play against Barcelona in their famous home, the Camp Nou. However, Chelsea have a good track record of facing Barcelona, which will undoubtedly boost their confidence.
The last time the Blues played in the Camp Nou was in 2012, the second leg semi-finals of the Champions League, in which they managed to hold Barcelona 2-2, to progress into the final and eventually win the competition.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi didn’t participate in the win against Malaga in the last game due to the birth of his child. The Argentine will surely face the Londoners on Wednesday. The rest of some days for Messi is not the best news for Antonio Conte’s men.
Philippe Coutinho cannot participate in the Champions League as he is cup-tied while the captain, Andres Iniesta, is a doubt. So, it will be interesting to see whether Ernesto Valverde opts for a balanced approach calling in Andre Gomes, or the more attacking approach with Ousmane Dembele in the attack.
Ross Barkley, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and David Luiz are not expected to travel with the team to Barcelona due to their respective injuries.
Eden Hazard may return to the wide position if Conte picks either Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud to lead the line.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Barcelona Lineup (4-3-3 formation)
ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Paulinho; Dembele, Messi, Suarez
Chelsea Lineup (3-4-3 formation)
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Morata, Willian
Barcelona vs. Chelsea Prediction
Barcelona is the favorite considering their performances all season, as they are unbeaten in La Liga and the Champions League so far. But Chelsea is no pushover either, and on their day, the Blues can beat any team in the world.