Chelsea have all to do as they seek to qualify for the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League when they once visit Camp Nou to face Barcelona in the final chapter of their last 16 clash on Wednesday.
The Blues over the years have proven to know exactly how to stop the Catalonia-based side as no clear cut winner has emerged in all of their encounters. In their 11 meetings since 2005, Chelsea has picked up three wins to Barcelona’s two while six have been draws.
These figures just indicate that Chelsea seem to always back Barcelona into a tight corner. The epitome of their kryptonite-like effect is the fact that Lionel Messi only just recently scored against them for the first time in eight attempts.
During their last encounter at Camp Nou in 2012, the Blues captain John Terry was sent off early in the match but they still managed to draw 2-2 courtesy of the then out of form Fernando Torres. His goal was just a feather in their cap as 1-0 first leg win was already enough to put them through. Chelsea went on to lift the trophy in a hugely dramatic final match.
According to BT Sport, the following are some notable figures for this tie:
i) 68% of away sides to draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie 1-1 progress to the next round (23/34).
ii) This will be the 14th meeting between these sides in the Champions League – only two fixtures have been played more often in the competition (Bayern v Real Madrid 18, Barcelona v Milan 15).
iii) Six of the 13 previous meetings have ended in draws (46%) – of all fixtures to have been played at least 10 times, only Chelsea vs Liverpool has ended level more often (50% – 5/10).
iv) Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League games against Barcelona (W2 D6), with their last four visits to Camp Nou ending level.
v) Chelsea have been shown four red cards in Champions League games against Barcelona, accounting for 33% of their total red cards in the competition (4/12).
Though Barca’s home ground has proven to be a fortress in the last decade, Chelsea is one of the few teams that have proven to consistently get a solid result there. Antonio Conte has already sounded the warning shots by telling his players to take a cautious approach in this match.
What is clear is that Chelsea must win or ensure that they force a one-all draw at the very least to avoid elimination at the hands of their fierce rivals.