Chelsea vs Barcelona: Star-studded 3-4-3 combined XI featuring 3 Blues and 8 Blaugrana
The UEFA Champions League returns to action this midweek and the fans will be treated to a fascinating encounter as reigning Premier League champions Chelsea face off against current La Liga leaders Barcelona, at the Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
The last time the two teams clashed in Europe, Chelsea came out on top, beating the Blaugrana 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final stages, on their way to winning the trophy and current manager Antonio Conte will be keen on repeating that result against Ernesto Valverde’s side on Tuesday.
Ahead of the blockbuster event, we take a look at the combined XI comprising the players from both teams, based on current form (injured and suspended players not considered):
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)
Both Thibaut Courtois and Marc-Andre ter Stegen belong to the top cream of goalkeepers in the current time and have been crucial to their team’s fortunes. However, it is the Barcelona man who makes the cut, owing to his sensational displays this term, that has seen him concede just 17 goals and manage 19 clean sheets in 31 games. In comparison, Courtois, having played three games more, has let in 32 goals, keeping 16 shut-outs.
Cesar Azpilicueta (CB)
The Spaniard has grown into a defensive bedrock for the Blues under Antonio Conte and has established himself as one of the best in his position in the Premier League. He walks into our line-up as part of a three-man backline.
Gerard Pique (CB)
The Barcelona man has easily been one of the best defenders across Europe in the past few years and has taken his game up by a level this season. A leader of this Barca side, Pique has been pivotal to their fortunes under Valverde this campaign and is a definite selection for our combined XI.
Samuel Umtiti (CB)
Another vital part of this Barcelona setup, Samuel Umtiti has established himself as an irremovable part of the Catalans’ starting XI, with impressive performances week in week out. Aggression, intent, combined with excellent defensive nous, the Frenchman is a shoo-in into this combined XI.
Sergi Roberto (RWB)
The Spanish midfielder has been excelling as the right-back for the Catalans this season, so much so that he has relegated expensive summer signing Nelson Semedo to bench duties. The 26-year old has been directly involved in 8 goals (1 goal, 7 assists) for his team this term. In comparison, his Chelsea counterpart Victor Moses has contributed directly to only 5 goals (3 goals, 2 assists). As a result, it is Roberto who slots in as the right wing-back in this line-up.
N’Golo Kante (CM)
Easily one of the best central midfielders in the game at the moment, diminutive Frenchman N’Golo Kante would walk into any line-up in the world. Enough said. While Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets has also been close to his imperious best this season, Kante would offer a little more than the Spaniard in a system like the one chosen here.
Contrary to initial expectations when he was signed, Brazilian international Paulinho has become an integral part of this Barcelona setup. His goal-scoring acumen has added a new dimension to Barcelona’s play as well. Paulinho, this season, has netted 8 goals and registered 2 assists as well. An easy selection.
Jordi Alba (LWB)
The former Valencia man has to be one the best left-backs in the game. Having endured a difficult season last time out, Alba has bounced back tremendously this season and has taken his game to a whole new level. His attacking play from the left-hand side has been absolutely exceptional this term and while Marcos Alonso has been very good for Chelsea, Alba edges him out of this combined XI.
Lionel Messi (RW)
The name says it all. The little magician from Argentina has notched up 27 goals and 15 assists already this season and is really a no-brainer for selection in this line-up.
Luis Suarez (ST)
Barcelona’s next best player after Messi, Luis Suarez has continued to rack up goals once again after a slow start to the 2017/18 campaign. Has netted 20 times already and has 8 assists to go along with as well. Surprisingly, he is yet to score in the Champions League though but is still an easy pick ahead of Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata.
Eden Hazard (LW)
Considered as one of the top-most players in Europe, Eden Hazard has cemented his reputation in the football world with another solid season for the Blues. The Belgian, this term, has contributed 15 goals and 9 assists and will be the biggest Chelsea threat on Tuesday night.