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Drogba v Torres and the selection decision which could determine Chelsea’s Champions League fate against Barcelona

Roberto Di Matteo faces another selection conundrum over who will spearhead his attack as the Blues go in to Tuesday's semi-final second leg with a 1-0 advantage

ANALYSIS
By Greg Stobart

Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo knows his side will have no margin for error as they stand just one game from reaching the Champions League final.

The Blues face Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night in the second leg of their semi-final against the holders with a 1-0 advantage following the first clash between the teams at Stamford Bridge last week.

Didier Drogba scored the goal in that game and has recovered from a knee injury to make himself available for the return leg.

Now re-established as the club's number one striker, Drogba will expect to start at the Camp Nou as Di Matteo vows to attack Barcelona and go for a crucial away goal.

But with his superb record against the Catalans and improved form in the last two months, Fernando Torres will also fancy his chances if he gets the nod back in his homeland.

Here, Goal.com takes a look at the two players who are pushing for a starting spot...

Didier Drogba


                                                               CURRENT FORM

The Ivorian's eighth campaign at Stamford Bridge has been his poorest in front of goal as he has netted only five times in the Premier League so far. Perhaps, at 34, his age has caught up with him or maybe he has been distracted as he considers his future with his Chelsea contract expiring this summer.

But, while Drogba may not be as consistently fearsome as he once was, he has proven this season that he remains the man for the big occasion and is still able to cause problems for any defence when on his game. That was no clearer than last week, when he produced two man-of-the-match displays in two crucial semi-finals. He scored the opener in the 5-1 mauling of Tottenham with a stunning strike before scoring the only goal in the first leg against Barcelona, infuriating the crowd with his diving antics but also bullying the Catalans’ defenders.

The former Marseille man has scored five goals in six Champions League matches this season, including the opener in the stunning comeback to beat Napoli in the last 16.

                                                     WHY BARCA WILL FEAR HIM

Because they don’t like it up ‘em. Drogba proved in Chelsea’s win at Stamford Bridge that he has the power, strength and eye for goal to trouble the Barcelona back four. Get tight to him with his back to goal and he will either power away or win a free-kick, afford him space and he will link together attacking moves. His aerial threat makes him a danger in the air while his style and attitude often cause defenders to lose their heads and make rash judgements. Drogba is determined for revenge after the controversial semi-final between the sides back in 2009 and Barcelona will know what the big, bad and brutal striker is capable of when he is in the mood.

                                                    RECORD AGAINST BARCELONA

Not bad at all. In addition to last week’s strike, he also scored in each of the group stage clashes between the sides in 2006-07. There are some less happy memories, though, particularly his red card at the Camp Nou as Barcelona recorded a last-16 first-leg win back in 2006.

Fernando Torres


                                                            CURRENT FORM

Well, it has been better, but he is still miles away from the performances that convinced Chelsea to spend £50 million to sign him in January 2011. The change in management has coincided with some improved performances from the Spaniard under Roberto Di Matteo and, until last week, he would have considered himself the club’s number one striker. The goals haven’t flowed as yet - he has scored just seven in all competitions this season - but he has formed a good understanding with Juan Mata and provided some key assists, especially in the Champions League.

                                                    WHY BARCA WILL FEAR HIM

He knows La Liga and how to get the better of defenders in Spain, while he still has the pace to run into space on the huge Camp Nou pitch and get behind the back four just like Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday night’s El Clasico. This is Torres’ stage to push for a spot in the Spain squad for Euro 2012 and to prove he hasn’t completely lost it, while he has a history of scoring important goals against Barcelona.

                                                  RECORD AGAINST BARCELONA

The 28-year-old has an excellent record against the Catalans, scoring seven goals in 10 appearances against them for Atletico. Those goals came in five different matches, of which Atletico won four and drew the other. He didn’t have time to make an impact at Stamford Bridge last week but history shows he has a knack of scoring important goals against the Spanish giants.

VERDICT

Unless Drogba's injury is worse than reported, the Ivorian has to start as he proved in the first leg that he can cause problems for the Barcelona defenders. Not only does he carry a goal threat, but he also able to keep the ball away from the Chelsea penalty area, whether holding the ball up or wasting time by going to ground. Torres has looked sharper recently but is still some way off his Liverpool form. He remains a good substitute option if Chelsea need a goal or if Barcelona throw men forward and leave space for the Blues to counterattack.

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Poll of the day: Who should start up front for Chelsea against Barcelona?

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