Chelsea vs Barcelona: The 3 Key Battles
Chelsea vs Barcelona has its fair share of history. When one thinks of this contest, Torres' 90th-minute goal springs to the mind. If Barcelona do share a rivalry with any English Club, it's Chelsea.
But this Chelsea team is full of completely different players, except for Cahill, when compared to the team that faced Barcelona in 2012. Also, 2 players who played for Barcelona in that tie: Fabregas and Pedro, now gear up to play against them in Chelsea's blue.
On paper, Barcelona are favourites. They are on top of the La Liga and have been playing great football consistently this season. On the other hand, Chelsea are a shadow of the team that won the Premier League title last season.
Though there will be great contests all over the pitch and these 3 battles can make or break the match for both teams.
#1 Lionel Messi vs Marcus Alonso (and Chelsea's defence)
If there is or ever was a Messi's bogey team, it's Chelsea. The 5 times Ballon d'Or winner has faced the London side 8 times. Despite accumulating 29 shots in those matches, he hasn't been able to find the back of the net.
Luckily for him, Petr Cech, the man who had frustrated him, again and again, is not with Chelsea anymore. But at the same time, Courtois has proved multiple times that he is the right man to take over the mantle.
Messi will start the game centrally, but drift wide towards the right time and again. Thus it will be Alonso's responsibility to stop him. Alonso is renowned for his attacking prowess but tends to struggle against skilful attackers. Thus it can be a long evening for the Spaniard against arguably the world's greatest player.
Messi doesn't have a great track record against Chelsea. Hence, it will be Alonso and co's responsibility to keep out the great Argentine.