Chelsea needs just a draw on Tues. Apr. 24 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona to advance to the Final of the European Champions League. It’s going to be a hard task to achieve, but after beating the Spanish giants 1-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week it’s a distinct possibility. In fact, the timing may be perfect considering Barcelona is in a mini slump at the moment having lost two games in a row.
Barcelona had a chance to close the gap on Spanish league leaders Real Madrid on Saturday and a win would have drawn them to within just one point of their arch enemy. However, a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal sealed a 2-1 victory for Madrid and gave them a seven-point lead on the top of the La Liga table.
With the league title all but wrapped up by Madrid now, Barcelona will be focusing totally on the match against Chelsea. Any draw will see Chelsea advance to the final against either Germany’s Bayern Munich or Madrid, while a 1-0 Barcelona win would see this match go to extra time. If Barcelona wins by two goals they’ll advance, but a one-goal win by the Spaniards won’t be enough if Chelsea manages to score.
Chelsea played a good game at the Emirates Stadium on the weekend against London neighbours Arsenal, but only managed to walk away with a 0-0 draw. It didn’t help them in the race for fourth place in the English Premier League standings and it looks like the only way they can make it to the Champions League again next year is to win the tournament this year.
Barca favorites despite defeat
Even though they’re a goal down and didn’t score on the road, Barcelona will still be heavily favoured to beat Chelsea and advance to the final. They had enough chances to win the first game, but fate and a few goalposts were against them. Chelsea can’t afford to play the same style in the second leg as Barcelona will inevitably break them down at some point. Chelsea has to keep possession of the ball as much as possible and attack whenever they have the chance.
Saying that Chelsea defended well in the first match is a bit of a myth really. The only reason they won was Barcelona’s lack of finishing. The Spaniards definitely carved open the defence and created enough chances. However, Chelsea may have to play without Didier Drogba, the scorer in the first leg, as he’ll be a game-time decision. If he can’t play, Fernando Torres may take his place, but he looked brutal against Arsenal. Chelsea would be better off going with the young legs of Daniel Sturridge if Drogba is sidelined.
Barca hasn’t lost three games in a row since 2003 while Chelsea has lost just once in their past 14 matches, which was to Manchester City. Barcelona is unbeaten at home in the tournament this season, but the last three matches there have been draws. Barcelona should have defender Gerard Pique back in the squad, but Eric Abidal, Andreu Fontas, and David Villa are all out. For Chelsea, it looks like defender David Luiz is going to miss the game.
Betting Predictions and Odds
Look for Barcelona to control possession in this match and to bang a couple of goals in. Chelsea needs to manages one though and hang on. Look for Barcelona to win the game 2-1, but for Chelsea to advance.
Sportsbook William Hill’s latest odds show a Barcelona win at 2/7 with a Chelsea victory at 9/1 and a 90-minute draw at 9/2. Bet through the banner up to and get free bets.