3 Reasons Why Barcelona Will Destroy Chelsea In The UEFA Champions League
In what will be one of the most highly anticipated matches in this calendar year, FC Barcelona will travel to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The Premier League champions’ performance this season has been highly unsatisfactory, with the Blues failing to capitalize on their super-impressive debut season under Antonio Conte from last term. The London giants are currently sitting fourth in the Premier League table and could run the risk of missing out on the Champions League next season, should they make any more slip-ups in the league.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have been excellent, to say the least. The Spanish giants have performed incredibly well under new head coach Ernesto Valverde, topping the La Liga table with an impressive seven-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.
With Chelsea be down in the dumps, Barcelona seem to be the favourites for this tie and here are three reasons why the La Liga giants will destroy the Blues.
Chelsea are on a bad run of form
Chelsea are coming into this game, on the back of a strong 4-0 FA Cup win over Hull City and a convincing 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. That being said, the Blues have lost against the likes of Watford, Bournemouth and Arsenal this year while failing to defeat Leicester and Norwich City, a streak which has laid doubts over the credentials of head coach Antonio Conte.
The Italian will be coming into this game knowing that a major humiliation against Barcelona could cost him his job in the mid-season. The extra pressure on the Blues could lead them to crack against Lionel Messi and co.
Barcelona will almost have a fully fit squad
Head coach Ernesto Valverde will have the privilege of choosing from an almost fully fit Barcelona squad, ahead of their clash against Chelsea next week.
At the time of writing this article, only Sergi Samper is currently out with an injury while Phillipe Coutinho will miss out due to his ineligibility, having already played for Liverpool in the Champions League group stage earlier this season.
Record signing Ousmane Dembele’s presence in the starting lineup could be a huge boost for the Spaniard, who will look to play his strongest eleven against Antonio Conte’s men. Furthermore, Andres Iniesta is also fit and is expected to replace Philipe Coutinho in midfield with Ivan Rakitic partnering alongside him.
Barcelona are simply the better team
Perhaps the most obvious reason as to why Barcelona has every chance of destroying Chelsea next week would be the fact the Blaugrana are significantly stronger and more experienced than their English counterparts. Boasting the likes Messi, Dembele and Luis Suarez in the attack, Chelsea’s defensive line will be hugely tested next week, as they attempt to stop Barcelona’s powerful offensive department.
While the visitors definitely pack a punch in the offensive zones, they are pretty good in the defensive department with Sergio Busquets, one of the best holding midfielders in the world (if not the best) covering the defensive line consisting of Samuel Umtiti and the highly experienced Gerard Pique.
Even the likes of Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba will provide a challenge to Chelsea’s fullbacks in the shape of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. It will be interesting to see how Antonio Conte plans to stop the expected onslaught coming from Barcelona next week, as they look to qualify for the next round.
Even though the visitors are hugely favoured of getting through to the next round, anything is possible in the Champions League knockout matches, which has provided us with some of the epic upsets in football over the years.