Barcelona-Chelsea: A Preview

Hemant DuaCorrespondent IIApril 28, 2009

VALENCIA, SPAIN - APRIL 25: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring Barcelona's first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia and Barcelona at the Mestalla stadium on April 25, 2009 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Barcelona entertain Chelsea at the Nou Camp in the first of the two Champions League semifinal matches on Tuesday night. Both teams have been in fine domestic form as of late.

Barcelona will be playing three key matches in a span of seven days. Real Madrid beat Sevilla 4-2 at the weekend to cut Barca's lead at the top of the table to just four points. So, not only do they have to focus on the Chelsea match, but also on the game at the Santiago Bernabeu against Real.

The front trio of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, and Samuel Eto'o will have a key role to play. Barca also must try not to concede any away goals.

Chelsea will look to grab some away goals against a Barca side that is comparatively weaker at set pieces. They will depend on the depth of their midfield and on the excelling Didier Drogba to score some away goals.

They don't have much worry about themselves besides the Champions League—Guus Hiddink admitted that Chelsea's hopes for the Premier League title are all but over now.

The key battles will be between Messi-Bosingwa (I assume he will start) and Drogba-Barca defense. Both teams will go for the kill right from the start.

For the Catalans, Andres Iniesta should return to the centre of midfield. There are no injury problems for them. They managed to rest Henry and Rafa Marquez on the weekend at Valencia.

For the Blues, Jose Bosingwa is likely to fill in for the suspended Ashley Cole at left-back. Also, Ricky Carvalho will miss out through injury, with Alex expected to pair up with John Terry in the heart of the Blues' defence.


My Prediction

Barcelona 2-Chelsea 2