Chelsea v Barcelona: - The build-up, the ones to watch and expectations.

Champions League Betting Tips for Chelsea v Barcelona There’s already been more than enough excitement over the first week of the Cha...

Champions League Betting Tips for Chelsea v Barcelona
There’s already been more than enough excitement over the first week of the Champions League Round Of 16, and there’s expected to be even more drama as we go into week two, with Chelsea’s tie at home to Barcelona looking like the game of the week. In the run-up to such an enticing encounter on the football calendar,  Oddschanger have offered an insight into what they think will be the likely outcome.

Italy versus Spain has always been an interesting concept in footballing terms, and it’s no different as the organisation seen by Antonio Conte at Chelsea is matched up with the attacking flair presented by Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona.

Home side Chelsea have been far from perfect in past weeks, going through a period of winning three and drawing four of ten games, with a lot of their performances either being dull or distinctly poor. Two of those defeats were against Bournemouth and Watford in succession but they’ve bounced back in their last league game by beating bottom place West Bromwich Albion.

Barcelona remain top of La Liga and offer more than enough reason to stand as favourites to win the Champions League in the current attempt. They’ve been in solid form lately, showing calculated performances under Ernesto Valverde, rather than the high-scoring thrashings they usually rely on. Two draws from their last three show some weaknesses but it’s not enough to worry the Spanish giants, as they push on for European domination.

Ones to watch
Before the campaign kicked off, this fixture would be suitably geared up for Alvaro Morata to feature as Chelsea’s most lethal weapon, going up against Barcelona, who he’d faced many times before during two separate stints at Real Madrid, as well as for Juventus in 2015 Champions League final, where he netted Juve’s consolation goal in a 3-1 defeat. His poor form over recent weeks has seen the arrival of Olivier Giroud, and either striker could start. Eden Hazard is holding the Chelsea attack together, scoring six goals and an assist over his last six games and is their strongest option at odds of 16/5.

It’s a little more unsurprising to see that Lionel Messi is Barca’s best option in attack, sitting with twenty-six goals and eleven assists for the club already this season. The return to form of Luis Suarez has been crucial, going through a period of netting thirteen goals and three assists in eleven games after enduring something of a slump, making his 6/4 anytime odds look worthwhile. Philippe Coutinho begins to find his feet since joining from Liverpool in January, scoring his first goal for the club at the start of February, but still being a work in progress.

There was a predicted closeness in Juventus’ first leg with Tottenham Hotspur at the Allianz Stadium, which showed a predicted dominance from The Old Lady when kicking off with an early 2-0 lead, only to be ruined by Spurs’ resurgent second half, finishing off as an eventual 2-2 draw. That being said, no side overtly damaged the other and a draw seemed like the fairest possible outcome – something that could easily be said for this meeting.

Chelsea need to make the most of the first leg as it’s unlikely they’ll stand much of a chance when taking on their opponent away from home, especially when taking into considering Barca’s eighteen game unbeaten run when playing as the home side. The Nou Camp is a tough place to go but Barcelona are dangerous in any area. Even with Conte’s men needing to take all they can, the best possible outcome should still see Chelsea failing to win, so backing Barcelona or Draw at 2/7 sounds like a safe bet, along with under 2.5 goals at EVENS, because this game is likely to be a close one with only ten goals scored in Barcelona’s six Champions League games so far.

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