Preview: Chelsea vs. Barcelona

Lionel Messi
© PA Photos
Chelsea will have to stop 61-goal Lionel Messi if they are to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League. Here, Sports Mole previews their chances of causing an upset against the reigning champions.

Many bookmakers have rated Barcelona as 1/5 favourites to knock Chelsea out of the Champions League and advance through to May's final with relative ease.

Barca have history in their favour, having won three out of their last four meetings with the Blues.

However, they may have to take to the field at Stamford Bridge without the services of midfielder Xavi, who is reportedly struggling with a muscular complaint.

Centre-back Gerard Pique is also thought to be rated as 50/50 with a thigh problem.

Chelsea also have injury concerns of their own, mainly over defender David Luiz. Should the Brazilian fail to recover from a leg injury, then Gary Cahill is expected to play alongside captain John Terry.

The English defensive duo will face Lionel Messi, who has 61 goals in all competitions this season.

Perhaps equally as worrying for the home side is the fact that they have lost their last three semi-finals against Spanish opposition in UEFA competitions.

Current form:

Chelsea: LDWWDW
Barcelona: DWWWWW

Possible lineups:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Essien, Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Drogba, Kalou

Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas; Sanchez, Pedro, Messi

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Frank Lampard
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea22181347153255
2Arsenal22145350232747
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22137245162946
4Liverpool22136351272445
5Manchester CityMan City22134543281543
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22118333211241
7Everton22106633231036
8West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom229583028232
9Stoke CityStoke227782834-628
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2284102936-728
11Southampton227692226-427
12Bournemouth2275103239-726
13Burnley2282122433-926
14Watford2266102538-1324
15Leicester CityLeicester2256112437-1321
16Middlesbrough2248101825-720
17Swansea CitySwansea2253142651-2518
18Crystal Palace2244143041-1116
19Hull City2244142047-2716
20Sunderland2243152042-2215