Tomorrow morning 1:30 Nepali Time. One of the most exciting and important match of Champions League round of 16 will be played in Stamford Bridge, north London, the home of Chelsea football club. Chelsea locking horns with Barcelona.
Let me state a fact first. Barcelona are unbeaten on their last seven Champions League matches. Whereas Chelsea got a one goal-each draw against Atletico. But, this particular fixture has other important reasons to consider. The talisman Lionel Messi is yet to score against the Blues despite playing eight games. Belgian Thibaut Coutois is either lucky or is too good for over five years against the world’s best player.
Barcelona does not only mean Messi even though their most successful player is him. Messi, these days, is more of a team player as he knows his assists and beautiful touches play more important role than him scoring only. Messi does it on weekends and on week days and his continuous form is very exceptional that nobody from modern football arena can match him.
When they have played each other last, Chelsea, thanks to their unbreakable defending, won 3-2 on aggregate after drawing 2-2 at Barcelona and climbed to finals. That year they eventually won the tournament after beating German giant Bayern. After Andre Villas-Boas has left Bridge, Roberti De Matteo was made the interim manager. But with the best result ever in the club’s history, Matteo got promoted as full manager.
I predict the final score to be 2-1 for Barcelona in this first leg.
Chelsea – David Luiz and Tiemou Bakayoko are suspected of injury and will not feature. Spaniard Marcus Alonso is set to return after out due to hamstring injury.
Barcelona – Nelson Semedo is suspended and Philippe Coutinho can not play as he already played in this tournament for Liverpool this year.
Likely Line ups
Defense: Azpilicueta (RCB), Christensen (CB), Rudiger (LCB)
Midfield: Moses (RM), Fabregas (RCM), Kante (LCM), Zappacosta (LM)
Attack: Pedro (RW), Hazard (CF), Willian (LW)
GK: Ter Stegen
Defense: Roberto (RB), Pique (RCB), Umtiti (LCB), Alba (LB)
Midfield: Rakitic (RM), Busquets (CDM), Paulinho (CM), Iniesta (LM)
Attack: Messi (CF), Suarez (ST)
Altogether Chelsea and Barcelona played for 13 times in this lucrative competition and last of those was on April 2012 where Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate. Another interesting stat is Barcelona has never kept a clean sheet at Bridge and has only one game here among total six games.
Article By – Sulav Dahal