Barcelona vs Chelsea preview, betting tips and prediction: Blaugrana to put Chelsea to the sword in Camp Nou cauldron
Barcelona and under 3.5 goals @ 13/10 with Coral
Barcelona to win 2-0 @ 7/1 with Coral
Barcelona to win to nil @ 29/20 with Coral
Antonio Conte and his Chelsea side have taken a hefty amount of criticism over the past few weeks and months, but both were praised after the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Barcelona two weeks ago. For years, Chelsea players have been accused of downing tools when it looks as though a manager could be on his way out, but despite that happening with Conte, there is absolutely no sign that the players are refusing to play for him. They did exactly as he asked and were arguably the better of the two teams at Stamford Bridge. Willian, their best player of late and arguably this season, put them ahead, but they travel to Spain on Wednesday on the back foot after Lionel Messi equalised with the first goal of his career against the Blues.
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Chasing a game is seldom good news for Chelsea because they thrive on staying compact first and foremost, but it will be very tough to do that at the Camp Nou. Messi missed Barça’s win at Malaga on Saturday after the birth of his third child, but he is expected to return for this game. Of course, Chelsea have good memories of the stadium, having drawn 2-2 in the 2012 semi final, but while the same result would be enough this time and the Blaugrana are not as strong now as they were then, we think the Blues’ European hopes will end here.
It is only a matter of time until Barcelona are crowned LaLiga champions again, having beaten closest rivals Atletico Madrid recently. But they have drawn a couple of games, including against Chelsea and Las Palmas.
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Chelsea, meanwhile, improved on their top four chances by beating Crystal Palace on Saturday, but they remain behind Spurs in fifth.
Andres Iniesta and Nelson Semedo will miss the game through injury, but as mentioned, Messi should return to the side.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this one.