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Barcelona Team News: Valverde without three; playmaker to undergo fitness test
- Updated: March 14, 2018
Barcelona will be looking to qualify for the quarter-final of the Champions League at the expense of defending Premier League champions Chelsea on Wednesday night. The La Liga leaders will, however be without three key players according to the club’s official website.
The Catalans will welcome the Blues to Camp Nou looking to win the tie after the first leg at Stamford Bridge ended up in a 1-1 draw. The away goal – scored by Lionel Messi – though could prove to be pivotal going into the game.
The Blaugranas will be full of confidence after having won three of their last four games since the game in London although their record against the English side doesn’t make for good reading.
The Catalan giants will be confident of getting a result against the Blues, having won three of their last four matches since the first-leg, although their record against the Premier League champions does not make for good reading.
Barcelona have not been able to get the better of the Blues in their last eight meetings with the painful defeat to Chelsea in the semi-final of the 2012 Champions League still looming large over the tie.
As Ernesto Valverde plots to rewrite history, the first-season Barca coach will be without three big names in his squad.
Philippe Coutinho, who arrived from Liverpool in January for a fee of £146m remains sidelined due to being cup-tied.
Fullback Nelson Semedo along with Denis Suarez are both out due to injuries.
What about Iniesta?
Andres Iniesta started to practice earlier this week. The playmaker, however, will be a game time decision with match fitness being a huge question looming over the Spaniard.
Iniesta – who assisted Messi for his first ever goal against Chelsea in the first leg has been been struggling with a hamstring issue and is likely to go under a fitness test before a call is taken on his participation.
Whilst Barcelona have opened up a gap of 18 points, any mishap in the Champions League will surely be a huge black spot in Valverde’s first season in charge.