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UCL PREVIEW - BARCELONA VS CHELSEA

UCL PREVIEW - BARCELONA VS CHELSEA

2018-03-14 
| by Editor | Posted in Betting Previews

This is it! This is probably the one fixture everyone has been looking forward to since the draws were announced in December last year, alongside the star-studded fixture between PSG and Real Madrid.

Chelsea got a confidence boost from the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, and that helped the Chelsea players and fans believe that this season’s crop of players pretty much have what it takes to compete with the best of the best. Now, they must take it to the next level if they want to qualify for the quarterfinals at Barcelona’s expense.

Barcelona hold "a great advantage" heading into the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with Chelsea at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night according to Antonio Conte.

The Premier League champions only managed to come away with a draw in the first encounter, with Lionel Messi's late strike - his first-ever against Chelsea at the ninth attempt - canceling out Willian's effort at Stamford Bridge, even though Chelsea could easily have been 3 goals up by then.

Conte, however, thinks his side still have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition, the draw for which takes place on Friday morning.

Chelsea looked decent in their last Premier League game against Crystal Palace when Olivier Giroud was holding the ball up, allowing Willian and Eden Hazard to be found in more advanced areas.

However, if Chelsea play the same way they did at Manchester City, which by the way was awful and hard to watch for both the fan and neutral, they will have no joy because they'll fail to get out of their own half again.

Barcelona is looking to make it to the Champions League quarterfinals for a record-extending 11th season in a row. The Catalans are 25W–10D–4L in 39 home knockout games in the Champions League era. Of the four losses, only one was to an English team, and that was Liverpool, which earned a 2–1 victory at Camp Nou the round of 16 first leg on February 21, 2007. On the other hand, Barça’s 23 all-time Champions League wins against English clubs are the most of any team in the competition.

Barcelona have improved defensively but they can still be gotten at because of their attacking intent. If Chelsea can get Alvaro Morata or Giroud up top then at least they'll be able to hold the ball up on a few occasions and give Hazard the chance of getting the ball in areas he can do damage to the Barcelona defence.

It is also important to note that Lionel Messi had a nice rest at the weekend to be ready for this one so Chelsea fans might want to think about that for a bit. But hey, if the match between Manchester United and Sevilla taught us anything, it would be not to write anyone off. At this stage, there are no underdogs.

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