With approximately 10 days left before the game starts, I thought it would be appropriate to start the match thread.
And what a game it will be! Jose Mourinho will return to Barcelona with one of best sides in Europe, knowing that whoever is victorious from these two legs will take a massive step towards winning the most glamourous club competition in the world.
FC Barcelona starting XI (probable):
Valdés Belletti Puyol Oleguer Van Bronckhorst Márquez Xavi Deco Giuly Ronaldinho Eto'o
Cech Ferreira Terry Gallas Bridge Makelele Lampard Tiago J.Cole Duff Drogba
FC Barcelona: After recovering from their "blip", Barcelona have started to return to their winning ways. After slipping up against Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou last week, the players will keen to prove the doubters wrong that handling pressure is no problem for them, which they showed in their 4-1 demolition of Real Zaragoza. Providing nobody gets injured, Barça will be able to field their strongest first XI.
Chelsea FC: Chelsea have shown that money can buy success with the right management. They have been playing some breathtaking football while grinding out wins when things haven't been going their way. Jose Mourinho has got squad that seems unbeatable, but it's up to us to decide that that isn't the case.
Their defence has been their most impressive aspect this season, only conceding 8 goals in 27 league games Their midfield core will consist of Makelele, who has continued his sparking form when playing for Real Madrid, and Frank Lampard, who has been arguably one of England's most in-form players. Víctor Valdés will have to be vary of his ablility to shoot from distance. Their attack will most likely consist of Damien Duff, who has the ability to torment any full back and Didier Drogba, who is immensely strong and will have interesting battle with Carles Puyol. Their most noticeable absentee, Arjen Robben, will be sorely missed - the statistics of Chelsea playing with Robben and without him speak for themselves.
Barcelona must show respect to Chelsea, but we most not fear them. Possession of the ball will be Barcelona's biggest threat and it'll be interesting to see how Barça's attacks will fare against Chelsea's brick wall of a defence. If Xavi and Deco start to control the game, then Chelsea will have no choice but to track back. Chelsea are excellent counter-attackers, but the absence of Robben, with his blistering pace, will make it far less effective.
May the best team win :devil: