There is history to this Chelsea against Barcelona match in the UEFA Champions League as every one of their last 10 competitive encounters have had one storyline or the other.
Players, managers, and referees have defined these meetings – from Jose Mourinho hiding in a basket to the majestic toe-poke from Ronaldinho to Andres Iniesta’s last-minute equaliser and Fernando Torres rounding the goalkeeper in the last seconds in 2012. One player has always underwritten the narrative, but who will it be this time?
Morata v Pique
If Alvaro Morata gets the better of Gerard Pique on Tuesday then Chelsea will win the first leg. The Spanish national team striker has not scored for Chelsea since Boxing Day and boasts just one Champions League goal in five games this season. Meanwhile, Pique is carrying a knee injury but can still be very effective because he reads danger very early and shuts it down. This duel will be a compelling one to watch.
Fabregas v Iniesta
These old friends will be foes for at least 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. While Andres Iniesta will be pulling the strings in midfield with his movement and ball guile; Fabregas will be seeking to release his forwards with balls in behind the defence.
Kante v Messi
This is not the greatest task in the world but the only Chelsea player with the ability to attempt to keep Lionel Messi under some sort of check would be the indefatigable N’Golo Kante.
Overall Head to head
|July 29, 2015||ICC||Chelsea||February 2, 2018||Barcelona|
|April 24, 2012||UCL||Barcelona||February 2, 2018||Chelsea|
|April 18, 2012||UCL||Chelsea||1 - 0||Barcelona|
|May 6, 2009||UCL||Chelsea||January 1, 2018||Barcelona|
|April 28, 2009||UCL||Barcelona||0 - 0||Chelsea|
|October 31, 2006||UCL||Barcelona||February 2, 2018||Chelsea|
|October 18, 2006||UCL||Chelsea||1 - 0||Barcelona|
|March 7, 2006||UCL||Barcelona||January 1, 2018||Chelsea|
|February 22, 2006||UCL||Chelsea||February 1, 2018||Barcelona|
|March 8, 2005||UCL||Chelsea||February 4, 2018||Barcelona|
|February 23, 2005||UCL||Barcelona||January 2, 2018||Chelsea|
Hazard v Roberto
Sergi Roberto will have his hands full with Eden Hazard who will be looking to exploit the right back’s naivety and pace. Hazard has been in great form recently and will be looking to bolster his burgeoning reputation by hurting one of the best teams in the world.
Moses v Alba
The commonest route to goal for Barcelona in very tight games is through Jordi Alba, breaking down the left flank. On Tuesday, he will want to ensure he pushes back Victor Moses, who would want to prove his superiority over the Spaniard by putting him under constant pressure so that he can’t join the Barcelona attack. This will be a very crucial duel and whoever wins will point the direction for the winner of the match.
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