Champions League Preview: Barcelona - Chelsea
Chelsea hopes to claim a place in the Champions League final with a positive result at the Nou Camp, while the home side is looking to overcome a one goal deficit.
By Matthew Harold
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Adriano
Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Lampard, Meireles, Mata
Barcelona could welcome back defender Gerard Pique after suffering back-to-back defeats in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, then against arch rival Real Madrid during El Clasico on Saturday which looks to have cost the Catalans the Primera Liga title.
Both Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano are currently walking a suspension tightrope, as another booking for either could see them miss out on the final in Munich, should the Spanish side overcome the one goal deficit.
Pep Guardiola will have a full strength side to call upon, with only long-term absentees David Villa, Eric Abidal and Andreu Fontas remaining on the sidelines.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo should revert back to the side that performed so well during the first leg, after resting many of them for the weekend's goalless draw against Arsenal.
The only doubt for the Blues is goalscorer Didier Drogba, who has been suffering from a knee injury and was left out of the Arsenal game, while defender David Luiz will definitely miss out having been stretchered off during the FA Cup semifinal triumph over Tottenham.
Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole and Ramires are all one booking away from missing a potential Champions League final place in Munich next month.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Defeat for Barcelona would see it lose its third game in a row for the first time since early 2003, when it suffered at the hands of Valencia, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid.
- Should Pep Guardiola’s side fail to qualify for the Champions League final, its only real chance for a major trophy at the end of this season would be in the Copa del Rey, when it faces Athletic Bilbao in the final.
- Barcelona frontman Lionel Messi (pictured right) is currently sitting on an incredible 63 goal so far this season, although he has failed to find the net in his last two fixtures.
- The Nou Camp side has yet to be defeated in its seven meetings in Spain, although the last three have finished as draws.
- Chelsea has only suffered defeat in one of its last 14 fixtures, with that loss coming at the hands of Manchester City.
- The Stamford Bridge side is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to Champions League qualification through the Premier League, sitting in sixth place, four points behind Newcastle.
- The old guard remain the goalscoring key for Chelsea, as Frank Lampard currently leads the way with 16 goals this season, while Didier Drogba has 11.
- Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo will be hoping to exercise the memories of the last time he visited the Nou Camp as a Chelsea player, when his side suffered a 5-1 defeat as it crashed out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage.
Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea
- 17.24 %
Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea
- 14.36 %
Barcelona 3-1 Chelsea
- 10.22 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 24, 2012||Barcelona 2 - Chelsea 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 18, 2012||Chelsea 1 - Barcelona 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||May 6, 2009||Chelsea 1 - Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 28, 2009||Barcelona 0 - Chelsea 0|
|May 19, 2013||Barcelona 2 - Valladolid 1||LIGA|
|May 12, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - Barcelona 2||LIGA|
|May 5, 2013||Barcelona 4 - Betis 2||LIGA|
|May 1, 2013||Barcelona 0 - Bayern 3||UCL|
|Apr 27, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 2 - Barcelona 2||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed