The second-leg of this last-16 Champions League tie is evenly balanced heading into the game on Wednesday night at Camp Nou. Three weeks ago, a 1-1 draw in London was a close game that surprisingly saw Chelsea look like containing Barcelona until Lionel Messi equalised.
That performance will give Antonio Conte belief that his side can advance to the quarter-finals, but they must score at least once, and it is hard to see Barcelona going 90 minutes at home without scoring. The Spaniards are the runaway leaders in La Liga with an eight-point advantage over Atletico Madrid and with the league effectively secured they can focus on claiming the Copa del Rey and Champions League trophies.
The Spanish club have lost just once since August and are unbeaten in La Liga. Any win on Wednesday would see them into the last-eight and Messi has 32 goals in all competitions. It will take the kind of defensive performance, as well as luck, that Chelsea had in the 2012 semi-final against Barca – where they advanced with 10 men on the way to winning the trophy – for the Premier League side to get through.
It will be intriguing to see the line-up that Conte chooses as he will know that his team needs to defend and counter-attack well. Eden Hazard, the Blues’ standout player, will need to be deployed in a position that he is most effective after struggling as a central forward in both the first-leg and the recent defeat to Manchester City. Chelsea are currently four points from a top-four place in the Premier League and a successful season is very much in the balance.
As with all remaining Champions League fixtures, Tipbet have a huge range of top odds for registered customers. Barcelona are 1.22 to advance to the quarter-finals and 1.45 to win on the night, though extra-time (5.25) is a possibility with a repeat of their 1-1 draw. Chelsea’s difficult task in shown in that the English champions are 7.75 to win in 90 minutes, or 4.25 to eliminate their hosts by any means.