Four reasons why Chelsea have a serious chance of beating Barcelona in the Champions League
Chelsea, the Premier League’s defending champions, will look to put their woeful season behind them as they host Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 next week at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues haven’t been convincing enough in the league nor in the European competitions this season, finishing behind AS Roma in their UCL group stage. Barcelona, on the other hand, have been terrific this season under new coach Ernesto Valverde.
The Catalans are leading the La Liga table by an impressive seven points gap over second Atletico Madrid and a whopping 17 points lead over arch-rivals Real Madrid. That being said, anything can happen in the UEFA Champions League, which has provided us with some of the biggest upsets in footballing history, over the years.
In this article, we will talk about four reasons why Chelsea have a definite chance of overcoming FC Barcelona.
Barcelona Have Often Struggled Against High Pressing Teams
Ever since the departure of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have often struggled to cope with high pressing football, especially in the Champions League. The Catalans have also failed to perform against clubs who like to execute three at the back and this is where Chelsea definitely have the upper hand.
Antonio Conte’s favoured three at the back formation will definitely allow Chelsea to have numerical superiority in the middle and final third of the pitch. This will enable the Blues to have some extra possession or at least be more secure in the build-up phases, which in turn, will make Barcelona much more desperate to get onto the ball.
Furthermore, Chelsea dynamic wingbacks in Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso are perfectly suited to play against Barcelona’s technically superior fullbacks, who often struggle against dynamism in the final third.
Chelsea Have The Home Advantage
Perhaps the most obvious reason as to why Chelsea will have an upper advantage over Barcelona next week, Stamford Bridge will definitely help the Blues gain momentum against the Blaugrana.
Although Stamford Bridge is not exactly known for its world-class atmosphere, which is rather evident in stadiums like the Signal Iduna Park or San Siro, it will prove to be a real challenge for Barcelona to beat the Blues on their home turf.
Furthermore, the London giants have lost only once in their last 16 matches at Stamford Bridge in all competitions, which is enough to suggest as to how tough it might get for the visiting Barcelona to overcome to sturdy and well disciplined Chelsea.
The Attacking Trio Of Hazard, Willian and Morata Could Work Wonders
More often than not, Chelsea’s attacking trio consisting of Eden Hazard, Willian and Alvaro Morata have saved their blushes this season.
The three of them have combined for almost 40 goals in competitions so far, which is quite impressive considering the fact that almost all of them have been criticized at some stage of this season.
Although Willian was heavily linked with a move away from the Stamford Bridge in the summer, with Barcelona amongst a number of club interested, his understanding with Eden Hazard will definitely hand Chelsea an advantage in the final third.
While Alvaro Morata, on the other hand, has always performed well in the Champions League group stages and will be keen to perform well against his former arch-rivals Barcelona next week.
Barcelona’s Alarming Recent Form
FC Barcelona haven’t had the greatest of forms coming into this game, failing to win two of their last three matches in the league. Though the Catalans beat Eibar, they’ll have to be wary of the threat from the Blues.
A defeat to Chelsea could further derail their excellent campaign so far, meaning the visitors will come into this game tensed about their chances of overcoming the Blues.