Chelsea v Barcelona preview: Blues look to continue good fixture record
Last Updated: 20/02/18 7:32pm
Chelsea will be looking to improve their good record against Barcelona when they meet in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Antonio Conte's side have won just four of their previous 12 matches in all competitions while La Liga leaders Barca have only lost once all season.
However, Chelsea have fared well in recent meetings with Barcelona.
The Premier League side are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games against Barcelona. They also beat them in the semi-finals in 2012 on their way to winning the trophy.
Following the 4-0 win over Hull on Friday night, Conte admitted he has been kept awake planning how to beat the free-flowing La Liga leaders.
"In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest... it was a bit difficult to sleep well," he said.
"When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.
"They can move a result a lot of the time. We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game."
David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko are injury doubts for Chelsea but Marcos Alonso is set to return.
Nelson Semedo is suspended for Barcelona while Philippe Coutinho is cup-tied, having played for Liverpool earlier in the season.
Chelsea and Barcelona are facing each other for the 13th time in the Champions League, the fifth-most played fixture in the competition. They hadn't played each other since April 2012 - Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona have won only one of their six away games against Chelsea in the Champions League (D1 L4), it was in February 2006 (2-1). They have also never kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14. However, they are winless in their last six knockout games (D3 L3).
Eden Hazard has scored three goals and delivered two assists in his last five Champions League games.
Lionel Messi has played 655 minutes against Chelsea in the Champions League but has yet to score. Against no other team has he played that many minutes without ever finding the net.
For me this is as a good a game as PSG v Real Madrid. There's a lot of people suspicious of Chelsea but we've got five Premier League teams with a genuine opportunity in this competition.
We've got two teams basically through, Tottenham are in a great position and two teams with the chance to really prove a point this week.
Is this a game for Eden Hazard to earn a move away? I don't see Barcelona targeting him, he's more of a Real Madrid target, or even PSG if Neymar was to go to Real, but there's no real drama about his future right now.
He will want to put on a display here and Chelsea should fancy themselves to get at Barcelona, but they have improved defensively under Ernesto Valverde, perhaps even better than they were under Pep Guardiola.
Lionel Messi isn't scoring as many but Luis Suarez has found some form, so if I was Chelsea I'd really have a go at this and I'm expecting plenty of goals.
Charlie predicts: 2-2 and Suarez to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)