Chelsea v Barcelona Preview, Stats and Betting Tips, 20th February 2018, Stamford Bridge, Kick off: 19:45 GMT

There’s often been no shortage of talking points whenever these two sides have met. Chelsea approach the tie as underdogs but a good result at Stamford Bridge this Tuesday could help change that. Will they have what it takes to stifle an impressive Barcelona side or will the Catalan giants reign supreme in the first leg at Stamford Bridge?

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Chelsea v Barcelona Head to Head Record

  • Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea – 24th Apr 2012, Champions League
  • Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona – 18th Apr 2012, Champions League
  • Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona – 6th May 2009, Champions League
  • Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea – 28th Apr 2009, Champions League
  • Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea – 31st Oct 2006, Champions League

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Chelsea v Barcelona Preview

Barcelona were far from their best when dropping points to Getafe and Espanyol in La Liga earlier this month. Ernesto Valverde’s side still remain top of the table though and with a fairly decent cushion too. After winning so many games on the bounce, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the Catalan side have finally slipped up. Prior to the draw at Espanyol, they had enjoyed seven consecutive victories in La Liga, scoring 23 goals. While they’ve lost their finishing touch in recent weeks, you can’t blame them for taking the foot of the gas a little given the comfortable position they are in.

In the build up to this game, Valverde came to the defence of Antonio Conte who has been under intense scrutiny the past few weeks following a couple of disappointing losses. Conte has insisted that he will not walk away although it appears he wasn’t best pleased with how his club has been handling transfers. The Italian was at least able to acquire Olivier Giroud in the transfer window to replace the unfavoured Michy Batshuayi. The ex-Arsenal man is eligible to play here along with fellow January signing Emerson Palmieri who was not part of Roma’s Champions League squad.

Chelsea have always put up a decent fight when up against Barcelona in this competition. From their 12 Champions League meetings, the Blues have won four and drawn five. History suggests this will be close as does the home record of the London side. While they fell to a shock defeat to Bournemouth not long ago, this was the first time they had lost at home since September. There was no sign of the Bournemouth defeat playing on minds of the Chelsea players against West Brom in the following home game either. Conte’s side were in cruise control against their opponents and after the game Eden Hazard declared that Chelsea were back to their old selves.

Relevant Stats, Injuries and Suspensions

Ross Barkley remains out for Chelsea with a hamstring issue but he’s the only player in the squad nursing a long term problem. Olivier Giroud required stiches in the game against West Brom but the bruised up Frenchman will be fine to feature here. Marcos Alonso has had a couple of small issue the past few weeks but he is expected to recover in time to play some part in this match.

As for Barcelona, Nelson Semedo is out suspended following an accumulation of yellow cards. Luis Suarez and Samuel Umtiti could find themselves in the same position too for the second leg if either of them end up being booked at Stamford Bridge. Big money signing Philippe Coutinho is ineligible to play after featuring for Liverpool in the earlier stages. Ousmane Dembele is however fit again after recovering from a hamstring problem although the Frenchman is yet to impress in Barcelona colours.

Lionel Messi has been firing in goals so regularly for his side this season but he has failed to score in any of his 8 appearances against Chelsea. You should also be aware of Barcelona’s less than brilliant record away against English opposition. From 32 matches, the Blaugrana have won nine and lost 15. In contrast, Chelsea have hosted Spanish opposition 16 times, winning nine of these and losing only twice.

Chelsea v Barcelona Tips

There’s often been little to separate these sides who have formed quite the unlikely rivalry. Chelsea need to make a good start in the first leg as we all know what Barcelona can do at the Nou Camp. There’s reason to think they can put up a decent fight here too. Barcelona haven’t been on fire in this competition when playing away from home, scoring just once from three group game matches. Given how infrequently the Catalans lose however, this game is shaping up to be yet another draw between these two sides. It’s a result you can back at 5/2 with BetVictor or you can combine it with under 2.5 goals for increased odds of 17/5 with Ladbrokes. Barca are not usual at their clinical best on the road but their defensive record this season is highly impressive so an abundance of goals seems unlikely on Tuesday evening.

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