Predicted Barcelona Lineup To Face Chelsea In The Champions League
The next set of fixtures in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League is set to get this week, leaving us with some of the most enticing matches in the month of February. One of which will be when Spanish giants FC Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea as the Catalans look to continue their impressive season.
Premier League’s defending champions haven’t been at their best this season, following an unreal debut season under Antonio Conte. The Blues are currently sitting 4th in the Premier League table and could run the risk of missing out on Champions League action next season, should they continue their woeful form.
Barcelona, on the other hand, currently lead the La Liga table by an impressive 10 points, with Atletico Madrid at 2nd place with 42 points. The Blaugrana also have a whopping 20-point advantage over arch-rivals Real Madrid and will be confident of their chances of overcoming Chelsea next week.
FC Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde will have the privilege of choosing from an almost fully fit squad next week, for their clash against Chelsea. Midfielder Sergi Samper is apparently the only one out injured while new signing Philipe Coutinho is not available for the clash as he played for Liverpool in the Champions League group stage earlier this season.
Ernesto Valverde is expected to go with his preferred 4-3-3 formation despite favouring the 4-4-2 more in recent weeks. Andreas Iniesta could replace Philipe Coutinho in the midfield, which will enable the front three to play in a free-flowing formation up front.
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)
Marc Andre ter Stegen has been the most improved German goalkeeper in the past few years. The former Gladbach No.1 will play a huge role, as Barcelona look to keep out the dangerous attacking setup of Chelsea.
Nelson Semedo (RB)
One of Barcelona’s smartest buys in the summer, the addition of Nelson Semedo has worked wonders for the Catalans this season. His pace and agility in the final third will be ideal to counter Marcos Alonso on the right flank. Although Sergi Roberto has been given the nod in recent weeks, the Portuguese has been a regular for Barcelona in the Champions League this season.
Samuel Umtiti (RCB)
One of the most impressive defenders in La Liga this season, Samuel Umtiti will be a vital cog in the Barcelona defence. The Frenchman has been in excellent form and will be tasked with the responsibility of stopping the likes of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard.
Gerard Pique (LCB)
The departure of the experienced Javier Mascherano has boosted the importance of Gerard Pique in the Barcelona defence. The former Man United defender will feature alongside Samuel Umtiti in central defence. His laser passing coupled with some strong and imposing defending could prove to be useful against Chelsea.
Jordi Alba (LB)
Jordi Alba will definitely be one of the most important players, going into this game. The Spaniard has the pace and the ability to create a difference in the final third with his creative spark. His partnership with Lionel Messi will be one of the things to watch out for!
Sergio Busquets (CDM)
Arguably the best midfielder in the world, Sergio Busquets has always proved to be a vital cog in the Barcelona midfield, over the years. His ability to anchor the play as well as help Barcelona’s transition play will be key as the visitors look to dominate the home side in the midfield department.
Ivan Rakitic (RCM)
Following the unavailability of Philipe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic will be a key figure in the Barcelona midfield. His dynamism in the final third will be important for Barcelona, who will be hoping catch Chelsea with a strong midfield setup.
Andres Iniesta (LCM)
Andres Iniesta will be tasked with the responsibility of making a difference in the final third with his excellent passing and creative vision.
Ousmane Dembele (LW)
The Frenchman could get the nod ahead of Paco Alcacer, despite struggling with injuries throughout the course of the season. Dembele has already shown what he is capable of and his remarkable ability to drift past opposition will be important against this sturdy Chelsea defence.
Luis Suarez (ST)
The presence of Luiz Suarez will be warning enough for Chelsea, who will be looking to evade the wrath of the mighty Uruguayan who is more than capable of causing a havoc to any defence in the world.
Lionel Messi (RW)
Someone who needs no introduction at all. Stopping Lionel Messi, who has already netted 27 goals and provided 14 assists, will be imperative for Chelsea if they are to remain intact in the tournament. It will be interesting to see what measures does Antonio Conte take in order to stop the best footballer on the planet.