Another big night of Champions League football awaits Europe with Barcelona heading to Chelsea for a round of 16 clash. The previous fixtures between the two sides have produced drama in plenty with Chelsea holding a stubborn lead over the Catalans in the head-to-head fixtures.
Barcelona icon, Lionel Messi has broken all kinds of goal-scoring records but the little genius is yet to deliver against Chelsea having failed to score in any of his previous 8 fixtures against the Blues. Chelsea have their own season to save and will want to produce another gritty rear-guard display to see out Barcelona when the two sides face off at Stamford Bridge.
Here is the team news, predicted line-ups, key men and betting odds for the high-voltage clash.
Marcos Alonso, who has been absent for the last few clashes is in line to return for the big match while Tiemoue Bakayoko will be unable to play as he is yet to recover. The Frenchman has come under intense scrutiny because of his below-par performances in a Chelsea shirt and his absence might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Blues.
Chelsea have no suspension issues to worry about.
The Catalan giants will have to line up without new boy Philippe Coutinho who is ineligible for the clash. They will be buoyed by the return of Ousmane Dembele. The French star was ruled out last month but is in contention to feature against Chelsea.
Barcelona have no suspension issues to worry about either.
Predicted Formation: 3-5-2
Thibaut Courtois, Victor Moses, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata
Predicted Formation: 4-4-2
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi
N’Golo Kante will have to play the game of his life to stop the free-flowing Barcelona midfield. In attack, as has been the norm this season, the onus will be on the Belgian captain Eden Hazard to create chances for Chelsea.
The Barcelona team is playing on a good level but the standout performance can once again be expected from Lionel Messi. The Argentine genius has been on a supernatural level yet again this season and will want to break his unlucky goal duck against Chelsea.
Chelsea Win- 5/2
Barcelona Win- 21/20
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