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How Chelsea could line up against Barcelona

Ahead of Chelsea's Champions League trip to Barcelona, Sports Mole looks at how Antonio Conte's side could line up at Camp Nou.

Antonio Conte will be looking to channel the spirit of his compatriot Roberto Di Matteo and the 2012 Champions League-winning Chelsea squad when his side travel to Camp Nou to take on Barcelona this evening.

The Blues memorably recorded a 2-2 draw at the home of the Spanish giants on their most recent visit to go through to the 2012 final on aggregate, where they subsequently beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first, and so far only, time.

Chelsea again have it all to do tonight courtesy of Lionel Messi's away goal at Stamford Bridge last month, leaving the Premier League champions needing a win or score draw to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Chelsea could line up against Ernesto Valverde's side.


Predicted Chelsea XI vs. Barca

Conte described his side's performance in the first leg as "almost perfect", so he is unlikely to make many changes to his starting XI from that match at Stamford Bridge.

One area he may look to change is up front, though. Eden Hazard played as a false nine in the first leg and applied himself well, but he was ineffective in the same position against Manchester City recently and has openly spoken about his dislike for the role.

Instead, Conte could hand a second consecutive start to Olivier Giroud, who has not yet featured in the Champions League for Chelsea but was unfortunate not to open his Premier League account for the club against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata is out of favour and seemingly not trusted in the big games anymore, which could provide Giroud with the chance to nail down a starting spot with a good performance at Camp Nou.

That would see Hazard drop back to his preferred wide role and former Barca man Pedro is the most likely to drop out considering Willian's recent form - which includes the opening goal in the first leg of this tie.

Victor Moses should return at right wing-back after being rested at the weekend, while Conte is also likely to keep faith with Andreas Christensen despite the youngster's recent form coming under scrutiny.

Antonio Rudiger missed the Palace game with muscle fatigue, but Conte hinted that he will be available for tonight's match and, if so, he is expected to replace Gary Cahill in the side.



Read Sports Mole's full preview of tonight's match by clicking here.

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Eden Hazard and Gerard Pique in action during the Champions League group game between Chelsea and Barcelona on February 20, 2018
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Combined XI: Barcelona vs. Chelsea
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