Kick-off: Tuesday, February 20, 2018. 19:45 GMT
Venue: Stamford Bridge
The crucial Champions League tie we’ve been waiting for is finally here as Chelsea play host to Barcelona in the first leg of the 2017/18 Champions League round of 16 clash.
Chelsea have overcome a slump to win their last two games convincingly – a 3-0 and 4-0 win against West Brom and Hull City respectively. However, Barcelona have won four of their last six games in all competitions, with two draws. Their last defeat came in their cup tie against Espanyol on January 17, with Espanyol winning the first leg of the cup tie 1-0 at home but lost at the Nou Camp 2-0.
While Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League and 19 points behind Manchester City, Barcelona are enjoying a superb season as they are seven points clear at the top of the La Liga table and are unbeaten in all competitions bar a single loss in the Copa del Rey.
The Blaugrana have conceded only 11 goals so far in La Liga this season, but Antonio Conte is confident of penetrating Barca through their weak point when not in possession.
The Blaugrana are favourites going into this tie, but this fixture is one that’s always tough and unpredictable no matter what.
Chelsea and Barcelona have met 12 times in the Champions League since the year 2000. Chelsea have won four of the games, Barca three and five ended in a draw.
The last time the Catalan giants defeated Chelsea in regular time was a 2-1 win under Frank Rijkaard back in 2006.
The meeting in the Champions League semi-final of 2009 was especially sad for the Chelsea faithful. The game at the Camp Nou had ended 0-0 and Chelsea were leading 1-0 in the second leg as the game went into its final minute. With practically the last kick of the game marred by controversial refereeing, Andres Iniesta found the net and Barcelona went through by virtue of the away goals rule.
A lot of memories erupt in this game for both sets of supporters (both negative and positive). Chelsea fans will always remember the 2012 tie, where the two teams met in the semi-finals once again. Chelsea won 1-0 in London. Although Barca bounced back to go 2-0 up at the Camp Nou, Chelsea eventually pulled back to 2-2 to make it into the final, where they beat Bayern Munich to win their first continental crown.
Can the Blues record another victory against the Blaugrana? Time will tell as we all eagerly await the game.