Barcelona – Chelsea: Conte’s last chance

Barcelona – Chelsea: Conte’s last chance

Today Chelsea will enter Camp Nou pitch to try and redeem the season and not let the Catalan Barcelona advance the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2006/2007 season, when they were eliminated by another English side, Liverpool.

After the last year’s championship, Chelsea decided to make a cold contrast shower for their fans. The team is occupying the fifth position in the EPL tournament table, having 56 points in the asset, which is four points less than Liverpool, which reserve the last ticket to the Champions League next season. Antonio Conte’s team lost the League Cup on aggregate to Arsenal (0:0 and 2:1) and in the FA Cup ran into unyielding Leicester in the quarter-finals.

Apart from the depressing results, the atmosphere within the team also suffers. At the beginning of the season Conte had a conflict with David Luiz, who intends to leave Stamford Bridge next summer, if the Italian remains as the club’s manager. However, knowing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s approach, in case of a loss on Wednesday, Conte will leave the Pensioners’ managerial chair and head back to his native Italy.

Suspecting a possible departure, Antonio Conte even turned to players for help in selecting the squad for the second match against Barcelona.

“Certainly, I have to choose the starting squad for every match, because players remain players and a manager remains a manager, but sometimes in such situations it is more important to involve players and listen to them after that, as the game is very close and we have to try and find the optimal plan for the match against Barcelona”.

Barcelona are occupying the first position in Primera, having eight-point advantage over Atletico Madrid and 15 over Real. The good news came from the Catalan side’s camp on Monday, when it became clear that Andres Iniesta has returned to training in the general group and will play against Chelsea. In the wake of Coutinho’s goal in the match against Malaga (0:2), Barcelona have all the key players in a great shape.

As usual, Messi may play a significant part in the match, who had his third son born prior to the match against the Anchowies. Previously the Argentine celebrated the child’s birth with a goal: in 2012, after the birth of Tiago, and in 2015, when Mateo was born. Now the celebrity father has to make a gift for baby Ciro.

Conte and his team have enough problems for them to become the reason of their elimination from the most prestigious club tournament in Europe. However, the 2011/2012 season should be remembered, when the Pensioners changed the head coach during the course of the season and won the Champions League. Bookmakers do not believe in the repeat of the scenario and give preference to the Catalans. The odds on Barcelona’s advancement to the next round vary from 1.17 to 1.25. London Chelsea’s advancement to the Champions League quarter-finals are estimated as 4.00 and higher. And if one bets on Messi’s goal in the second match and he scores – the betting sum will increase on 1.70.