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UEFA Champions League - Chelsea vs Barcelona: 5 surprise players who could impress 

Sharan Pillai
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Top 5 / Top 10
34.13K   //    18 Feb 2018, 01:25 IST

Chelsea is set to host Barcelona this Wednesday in the first leg of Round of 16.
Chelsea is set to host Barcelona this Wednesday in the first leg of Round of 16.

With the heat and hype of Real Madrid vs PSG settling down, all eyes are on now on the next mouthwatering fixture between the Blues and the Catalans.

While in the previous week, it was the La Liga side who had the last laugh against Paris Saint-Germain, Barca would look to replicate their domestic rivals' result along with keeping it in mind that it won't be an easy task for them.

The last time these two sides locked horns with each other, it was Chelsea who emerged as the winners as they beat Barcelona in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in 2012.

The mid-week clash is keeping the football fans at the edge of their seats. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta are all the talk of the town at the moment. Although the regular names are yet again being the center of attraction, let's take a look at five players who might come off as a surprise package when the two sides would clash at the Stamford Bridge this Wednesday.


#5 Paulinho (Barcelona)

Barcelona v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga
Paulinho has been a passive yet impactful player for Barcelona in the Champions League so far.

The man for whom Barcelona made a shocking deal of 40 million to get him from China to Spain is surely a figure to watch out for.

Paulinho quite often stays faded within the star-studded Barcelona team. The Brazilian midfielder along with Andre Gomes extends Barcelona's midfield options and has proved to be influential on numerous occasions. 

His passive yet impactful style of play can help Barcelona outshine Chelsea as it's most likely for the Blues to deploy their defensive resources after Messi, Suarez, Rakitic or Iniesta. Such instances give Paulinho acres of space in the midfield along with the freedom to widen the gameplay and create an impact.

The only question is, would he start for the Blaugrana in such a crucial away fixture? Most probably it's possible that the 29-year-old would be a part of Ernesto Valverde's plans as Coutinho won't be able to feature in the Champions League due to his arrival from Liverpool with whom he already had featured in the group stages. Starting the game or coming off the bench, Paulinho is surely a player who could prove fatal for Chelsea.

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Sharan Pillai
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