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20th Feb 2018

The Stamford Bridge pitch is in very bad condition for Chelsea’s clash with Barcelona

This could favour the home side

Reuben Pinder

Could this be a leveller for Chelsea?

Chelsea welcome Barcelona to Stamford Bridge tonight for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 knockout tie. The two sides have met several times in the competition since Chelsea became part of Europe’s elite in 2003. The numerous clashes have provided many iconic moments: Ronaldinho’s two poke goal and that ‘Iniestaaaaaaaa’ moment in 2009.

Tonight’s fixture will see a Barcelona side who, despite not playing the most entertaining football, remain unbeaten in LaLiga this season. Chelsea on the other hand have struggled of late, dropping points sloppily in games against Watford and Bournemouth. Form can somewhat disappear in these ties though, and Chelsea have proved to be a bit of a bogie side for Barça – Lionel Messi has still not scored against them in the Champions League.

There could also be another factor which affects the game tonight; the pitch. Video footage has emerged on Twitter of the pitch’s current condition at Stamford Bridge and it’s not pristine.

Barcelona are well known for their fluid passing football, and this could help Chelsea break up Barcelona’s build up play.

Chelsea will likely sit off Barcelona and look to counter, using new signing Olivier Giroud as a target man. So these conditions are more likely to favour the home side tonight.