Chelsea v Barcelona Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
February 19, 2018
Stamford Bridge - Champions League
Chelsea welcome Barcelona to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, for the first leg of a Champions League last 16 tie which promises so much. Antonio Conte’s side will need to be at their very best to stand any chance of progressing to the next round.
Premier League champions Chelsea have the upper hand over Barcelona in the Abramovich era, with three Champions League victories to Barcelona’s two since 2005. After losing on away goals following a late Andres Iniesta strike and some controversial refereeing in 2009, the Blues exacted revenge in the Nou Camp three years later when Fernando Torres wrote himself into Chelsea folklore.
Spanish wing-back Marcos Alonso is set to return after an ankle sprain, although Chelsea will be without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko for this one. Ross Barkley and David Luiz are also expected to be out, while Brazilian forward Willian is in line to start after a superb performance in the FA Cup at the weekend.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has no injury concerns over any of his star players, with Ousmane Dembele expected to be named on the bench. Another big money buy, Philippe Coutinho, is ineligible for the Catalan giants though having already featured for former club Liverpool in this year’s competition.
Chelsea v Barcelona Preview and Predictions
Chelsea must put all of their Premier League struggles and the rumours surrounding their manager to one side, as one of the top teams in world football comes to town. Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga and the Champions League so far this season, and are still in the hunt for a second treble in four years.
After suffering a pair of shock defeats against Bournemouth and Watford, Chelsea have rallied to win their last two games without conceding a goal. Their defence will need to stand tall to keep Barca’s attacking luminaries at bay, while the likes of Eden Hazard and former Nou Camp favourite Pedro have to perform.
If the Blues show any of the weaknesses that have been exposed in the Premier League at times this season, Tuesday’s visitors will rip them apart. Barcelona have already scored 91 goals this term, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez accounting for 47 of those. Even aside from those two, there are plenty of candidates who are more than capable of grabbing an away goal for the Blaugrana.
Valverde’s side start the game as 23/20 favourites in the betting, while Chelsea are priced at 11/4 to take an advantage over to Spain for the second leg. If you think the game will end as a draw, the odds on that are 5/2.
Barcelona to win and both teams to score at 3/1
Even if the visitors secure what could be a vital victory at Stamford Bridge, the hosts will fight to the end to get some sort of foothold in the tie.
Hazard to score and Chelsea to win at 5/1
The talented Belgian is likely to be key to any success that the Blues have, and he’ll be keen to perform on the biggest stage.