On Tuesday night, reigning Premier League champions Chelsea host La Liga leaders Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League last 16 first leg clash.
Chelsea have endured a mixed season and boss Antonio Conte is now under severe pressure to produce big results. No result would be bigger than beating the Catalan visitors over two legs in this tie.
The visitors are currently top of La Liga and looking likely title winners. Their form in the Champions League this season has been pretty decent too, as Ernesto Valverde’s side won four of their six group games and are now seven games unbeaten in Europe’s elite competition.
Barcelona have become renowned for their goalscoring exploits in recent seasons. However, it is at the other end of the pitch that the visitors have shone in Europe of late, keeping clean sheets in six of their last seven outings in the Champions League.
Star forward Lionel Messi has already broken the 30-goal barrier for the season. One interesting stat is that the 30-year-old has never scored against Chelsea, having played against the Blues on eight different occasions.
Chelsea recent Champions League record is not great, as they have won just three of their last eight games in Europe’s elite competition. They have drawn against Barcelona in five of the last six meetings in all competitions though, so they are unlikely to be easy opponents for Antonio Conte’s team.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will be able to call on the services of wing-back Marcos Alonso, who has missed the last three games through injury. Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ross Barkley and David Luiz are all fitness doubts.
Barcelona are without right-back Nelson Semedo, who is serving a ban. Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho is ineligible having played in the competition for previous club Liverpool. Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is also a fitness doubt for the visitors.
Who will win the battle of the bridge?