Premier League side Chelsea have drawn Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 stage set for February next year. For the Blues, it’s almost sad news considering how they dominated the group stage games. They were set to come out tops bar a draw against Atletico Madrid in the final group game.
With Roma emerging group leaders, Chelsea were not seeded. They could draw PSG, Barcelona or Besiktas, based on the rules of UEFA. English teams led in four groups so Chelsea could not meet them or play their group members.
Barcelona are probably not in the form of their life but they are better defensively. The team has successfully broken off the trident attacking system as they now employ team attack and defence, with of course the individual brilliance of Lionel Messi.
Chelsea met Barca last five years ago in the semi-final stage where the Blues triumphed before going on to lift the title – their first in history. The last time the duo met, Chelsea had an advantage from the first leg but Barca went up 2-0 to cancel the advantage. John Terry was sent off early in that game, with Chelsea fans losing hope.
Ramires pulled one goal back to hand the advantage back to the English side. They defended like their lives depended on it as the Spanish side attacked. Fernando Torres famously scored from a breakaway to seal the game for the Blues. It was a memorable night in London as they cruised to the final to face Bayern Munich at their backyard.
Both sides have met many times in the knockout phase of the Champions League. The 2004/05 and 2005/06 under Jose Mourinho in the Round of 16 and the 2008/09 season in the semis are other major events between both sides. Both sides have always had it tough but this time Barcelona are the favourites except Antonio Conte can pull off a miracle between now and February.