Barcelona host Chelsea tonight in the return leg of a UEFA Champions League knockout round tie that has been about as compelling as possible so far. The first leg, at Stamford Bridge was a classic, ending in a 1-1 draw that really should have been a victory for the hosts. Those missed opportunities could come back to haunt the Blues in this one as Barca boast a very formidable home record in European competition.
They are unbeaten over the past five years with 22 wins and two draws over that span.
One of those draws however, was 2-2 to Chelsea in 2012, and if that result repeats itself, the Blues would move on to the quarterfinals. Looking at the injury and fitness situation, we’ll start with Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger should be fit to feature having been rested against Crystal Palace over muscular fatigue. Defender David Luiz remains sidelined while Ross Barkley is still likely unavailable.
On the other side, Andres Iniesta returned to training but remains a doubt. Denis Suarez is not available due to an adductor injury. Right-back Nelson Semedo is also out.
Odds: Chelsea 6/1, Draw 15/4, Barcelona 2/5
Chelsea starting XI Prediction: go to this link
Prediction: Barcelona 2, Chelsea 1
Feel free to post your own Chelsea and/or Barcelona starting XI predictions, as well as your best guess as to what the final score will be.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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