13 Mar, 13:15
Barcelona is set to host Chelsea on Wednesday night for the Champions League return leg of last-16 tie with an away goal advantage.
The highflying Catalans need a goalless draw to advance to next stage after settling for a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge but for Chelsea, to progress, they must score and avoid conceding. During the first leg, Chelsea produced a stunning performance picking up a precious first-leg lead, but Lionel Messi scored in the second half to deny the Blues a win.
Lionel Messi is set to be recalled after withdrawing out of the squad on Saturday when his wife gave birth to their third born.
The hosts are set to welcome back Andres Iniesta after a hamstring injury having trained on Tuesday morning.
Serge Samper, Nelson Semedo and Denis Suarez are all sidelined with injuries.
Barca’s January signing Philippe Coutinho will also miss out as he is cup-tied.
Antonio Rudiger could be available after missing the win over Crystal Palace.
David Luiz and Ross Barkley will both miss the trip to the Nou Camp.
Despite starting without a striker in the home leg, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud will both be pushing to start in Spain.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Dembele, Busquets, Paulinho, Rakitic, Messi, Paco Alcacer.
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Morata
Ernesto Valverde’s men have been more dominant through entire season and they are enjoying excellent form. Chelsea can’t afford to sit as deep as they did against Manchester City as they were totally ineffectual across the pitch. Although they are unbeaten in the league, this isn’t a vintage Barcelona team.
With Messi fresh, he is set to trouble the visitors and Barca are likely to prevail to the next round.
Tip: Barcelona 2-0 Chelsea
Read also: I want to make Messi uncomfortable
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