3 Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Confident About Beating Chelsea in the Champions League Last-16
For the seventh time in the competition’s history, Barcelona will take on Chelsea in the Champions League following the turn of the year after the match up was made on Monday afternoon.
The two European powerhouses will meet first at Stamford Bridge towards the back end of February before the Catalonians welcome the Premier League outfit to the Camp Nou in mid-March.
Having not crossed paths with the Blues since that infamous night in 2012, where Spaniard Fernando Torres took the visitors to the final, the upcoming clash will likely be one Barca see as an opportunity to finally level the scores and take revenge on the west Londoners.
So, following the mouthwatering draw being made, let’s take a look at three reasons why Barcelona should be confident going into their last-16 clash.
1. Current Form
Although the meeting between two of Europe’s elite is still some time away, current form has to be a strong guide into how this fixture could pan out.
So far this season, Barcelona have played on 23 separate occasions across all competitions and are yet to taste defeat – dropping points in just five of those outings.
They are without doubt the strongest side in La Liga this term, currently boasting a five-point buffer over second-place Valencia and an even bigger eight over Real Madrid, and walked through their Champions League group with ease – which included Juventus.
Chelsea on the other hand find themselves with an almost insurmountable 14-point deficit to make up on Manchester City in the Premier League and scraped through to the last-16 of this year’s competition thanks to a rather fortunate under-par Atletico Madrid.
The likelihood is that Barca will still find themselves rulers of the Spanish top flight when the two meet in February, and it would also be unsurprising to see the Blues still suffering from the inconsistency which looks to have cost them their championship crown.
2. History on Barcelona’s Side
Despite the last meeting between the two sides proving extremely difficult to swallow for the Catalonians, they will go head-to-head with Chelsea in possession of a stronger track record between the two sides.
Out of the previous six two-legged meetings, Barcelona have walked away victorious four times on aggregate, with arguably the most memorable their last-minute equaliser courtesy of an Andres Iniesta screamer in 2009 which sent them through to the final – a tournament they went on to win.
3. Chelsea’s Squad Depth an Issue
The mood around Stamford Bridge this season is much removed from last’s, with the Blues not enjoying the success on the field, nor displaying the performances which granted that success anywhere near regularly enough.
A main factor for this is the inclusion in this term’s Champions League – something the west Londoners did not have to factor into their minds’ last time around.
The increase in strain on a fairly thin squad has shown through ample times so far this term, no more so than Antonio Conte’s side’s 1-0 defeat to strugglers West Ham United on Saturday.
It is likely that following the extremely hectic English festive fixture list, coupled with both domestic competitions, as well as Europe, Chelsea will not find themselves in peak condition, something that will not affect Barca considering their comparatively free schedule.