Chelsea vs Barcelona: Chelsea hope to stop rampaging Catalan giants in Champions League

Chelsea vs Barcelona: Chelsea hope to stop rampaging Catalan giants in Champions League

Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge for their first match against Chelsea in five years on Tuesday. The first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will give Barcelona a chance at exacting revenge over the Londoners.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have been firing on all cylinders for Barcelona. (Source: AP)

Match history of Chelsea vs Barcelona

Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday. It is the 13th time that the two sides are facing each other, making this the fifth most played fixture in Europe. At the same time, they haven’t met each other since 2012, which was the season Chelsea went on to win the Champions League. The Blues have a rather chequered record in Europe’s elite tournament since then. They were eliminated in the group stage next season but went on to win the Europa League. The next season, they reached the semi-finals where they lost to Atletico Madrid and were eliminated from the Round of 16 twice after that. Barcelona, on the other hand, have reached the semi-finals twice and quarter finals thrice in that period. Chelsea have won four and lost just one of the six matches they have played against Barcelona in the Champions League.

This season

Barcelona and Chelsea have had two very different seasons in their respective leagues. The Catalan giants enjoy a seven-point lead in La Liga. They are unbeaten and only recently seemed to have slowed down in their march to a 25th Spanish League title, drawing two of their last three games. Chelsea have looked only a shadow of the side that raced to the Premier League title under Antonio Conte in 2016/17. They have drawn five and lost six of the 27 matches they have played and are 19 points behind league leaders Manchester City. Barca qualified for the Round of 16 as unbeaten leaders of their group while Chelsea lost one – a 3-0 defeat to Roma – and drew two matches. It is to be noted, though, that Barcelona have scored only once in their last three Champions League games and that came off an own goal against Sporting Lisbon.

Key players and injuries

Jordi Alba has been a revelation this season under Ernesto Valverde with the full back admitting that the departure of Neymar has freed up space for him in attack. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have been firing on all cylinders and their defence has leaked just 11 goals in La Liga thus far. While Philippe Coutinho is cup-tied and won’t play any match this season in the Champions League, Barcelona’s other mega-buck signing Ousmane Dembele is reported to have recovered from his hamstring problem and could make an appearance over the course of the two legs. Chelsea will be hoping that Lionel Messi doesn’t score his first goal against them in this particular match. For the Blues, Marcos Alonso, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley missed the FA Cup match against Hull City. While Alonso was spotted training on Monday, it is yet to be confirmed if any of these three will be taking part. Individual brilliance has come at a premium for Chelsea this season. Alvaro Morata enjoyed a fairly good start before suffering a slump and Eden Hazard is their highest goalscorer in the Premier League with 11 goals. Turning up in big matches for club and country has been an Achilles’ heel for the Belgian and Chelsea will be hoping he can turn that trend around in the two legs.

Head to Head:

05 Apr 2000 Chelsea v Barcelona W 3-1

18 Apr 2000 Barcelona v Chelsea L 5-1

23 Feb 2005 Barcelona v Chelsea L 2-1

08 Mar 2005 Chelsea v Barcelona W 4-2

22 Feb 2006 Chelsea v Barcelona L 1-2

07 Mar 2006 Barcelona v Chelsea D 1-1

18 Oct 2006 Chelsea v Barcelona W 1-0

31 Oct 2006 Barcelona v Chelsea D 2-2

28 Apr 2009 Barcelona v Chelsea D 0-0

06 May 2009 Chelsea v Barcelona D 1-1

18 Apr 2012 Chelsea v Barcelona W 1-0

24 Apr 2012 Barcelona v Chelsea D 2-2