Barcelona vs Chelsea is the much-anticipated match of this knock out stage. With four spots in the quarter-finals of the Champions League yet to decide, Football Club Barcelona go head to head against Chelsea FC in their second leg clash of the round of 16. Camp Nou will play host to the game which will kick-off at 19:45 GMT on March 14.
The first leg was a close affair with both the clubs creating chances at will. However, Chelsea looked like they were heading for a home win until Lionel Messi scored his first goal against Chelsea to not only equalize the match but also to provide a crucial away goal for the Blaugrana.
The Catalan giants extended their 34 matches unbeaten streak in Liga Santander to 35 by stealing all three points off struggling Malaga on Sunday. There is no stopping the team who have lost only once this whole campaign and are cruising to yet another league title.
Chelsea, on the other hand, is failing to retain their title as the EPL champions and with back to back defeats against their Manchester rivals in the league came back strong on the road to beat Crystal Palace 2-1. The Blues are 2 points behind the top four with Tottenham yet to play against Bournemouth at the time of writing.
Head to Head
Champions League meeting between the two clubs has always been a source of excitement and controversy.
Whenever the two sides have met in the semifinals of the tournament, the winner of the tie has gone to lift the title.
Chelsea got through on 3-2 aggregate score last time they faced off in the knock out stages.
The tie is close to calling this time after the first leg ended 1-1.
Players to Watch
Messi hasn’t been at his standards in this season’s Champions league finding the net four times in seven appearances but did score in the first leg of the round of sixteen against Chelsea.
The Argentine forward didn’t feature against Malaga on the weekend due to personal reasons but will be looking to make a mark in this match. He, once again, became the father with his third child “Ciro”.
The Brazilian winger has been sensational this season scoring 14 and assisting 7 in all competitions. Three of those 14 goals have come in the Champions League, and he was probably the best and lively player on the pitch back in the first leg.
Willian scored the opener for the match and will be looking to have an impact on the second leg as well.
Ernesto Valverde has some notable absentees for the match with injuries to right back Nelson Semedo, Iniesta and Denis Suarez.
Philippe Coutinho isn’t eligible to play in the Champions League for Barca, and Luis Suarez will also miss out on the match due to yellow card suspension.
Antonio Conte has his whole squad except for Ross Barkley fit to play against Barcelona.
However, David Luiz is still doubtful and having missed most of the season due to injury and the rise of Christensen, Luiz will certainly not feature in the match.
Barcelona vs Chelsea Lineups ( Predicted XI)
Barcelona Lineup (4-4-2)
Roberto – Pique – Umtiti – Alba
Dembele – Busquets – Paulinho – Rakitic
Chelsea Lineup (3-4-2-1)
Azpilicueta – Christensen – Cahill
Moses – Kante – Fabregas – Alonso
Willian – Hazard
Barcelona vs Chelsea Prediction
This tie counts the thirteenth time the two clubs will face off against each other in the champions league with Chelsea having the upper hand overall.
However, with the pedigree Barcelona hold in their hands and the experience of the knock-out stages, taking in the fact that the match is going to be played at Camp Nou, Barcelona are clear favorites to advance into the quarters.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have the talent on the pitch too and players such as Hazard, Willian and Morata can change the game on its head within minutes.
Our Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea