Last 16 History Suggests Chelsea Face Major Uphill Battle to Get the Better of Barcelona

?Chelsea are the fourth English club to begin their Champions League knockout adventure when they face Barcelona in the first leg of their Last 16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.

The reigning Premier League champions have already seen Manchester City and Liverpool all but secure their place in the quarter final draw after thumping first leg wins over Basel and Porto respectively, while Tottenham bagged two away goals against Juventus in Italy.

Manchester United, of course, will get going on Wednesday when they travel to Sevilla.

But for Chelsea, the task of facing Barcelona looks daunting to say the least. The Catalans lead La Liga by seven points and cruised through the group stage of this competition, conceding only once. Chelsea, on the other hand, have had well publicised troubles in recent weeks.

When taking into account how Barça have previously fared at this stage of the competition, particularly against English opposition, it makes for uneasy reading.

Research from LeoVegas Sport can reveal that Barcelona have won as many as 69% of the Last 16 affairs they have played since the round was introduced in 2003/04. During that time, they have also scored 59 goals across those 14 two-legged ties.

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

Chelsea may have knocked them out at this stage back in 2004/05, but Barcelona’s win rate specifically against British opposition is even better, winning 75% of the 16 games they have played across eight Last 16 ties against English and Scottish teams.

The game on Tuesday will take place in London, with Barcelona winning on British soil in 2005/06 (Chelsea), 2006/07 (Liverpool), 2007/08 (Celtic), 2013/14 (Manchester City) and 2015/16 (Arsenal). If they win the away leg this time, it will give them a huge advantage ahead of the return at Camp Nou.

Manchester City v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

But when Barcelona have lost games against British teams in the Last 16, they have done so when their opponent shut them out in the second half. That was the case when Liverpool won in Camp Nou in 2006/07, when Arsenal won the first leg in 2010/11, and when Chelsea themselves won 4-2 in the second leg in 2004/05, prevailing 5-4 on aggregate as a result.

If Chelsea can keep a lid on Barça’s potent attack, they’ll certainly give themselves a chance.

(You may also be interested in ‘Play in Goal or Leave! Marc-Andre ter Stegen Tells Incredible Story of How He Became a Goalkeeper’)

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