PMB: Barcelona v Chelsea - talking points and numbers

A tie with more than a little history brings this round of the Champions League to a close. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton set the scene for our second leg on the Mediterranean coast…



‘The Blues are here,’ proclaims an English-language poster campaign around Barcelona the past few days. ‘But plenty of Blaugrana awaits them.’ Never the less 5,000 Chelsea fans aim to sing themselves hoarse again backing their boys in the 99,000-seater arena Catalans call home.

This will be Antonio Conte’s first experience of Camp Nou as a coach, though the champions of England are old hands here, on a run of eight games without defeat against the Liga leaders, and undefeated in the past four trips to Carrer d’Aristides Maillol.

Remarkably, this fixture is the third most-played in Champions League history, after Bayern versus Real and Barcelona-Milan. That is testament to the Blues’ ability to progress through the latter stages, a record the Londoners will be determined to extend tonight.

This Barcelona-west London clash is arguably the longest-distance derby in football: when these two heavyweights meet in Europe’s elite competition it delivers more drama than any soap opera. This evening will be the 14th episode – with a series finale for one of them. And derbies often produce shocks.

Yet it is also the first of three massive games in succession, across a trio of different competitions. Barcelona in the big one, Leicester in the FA Cup, Tottenham in the league, all in the space of a few weeks… is it starting to feel a bit ‘2012’ yet?



Chelsea are unbeaten against Barcelona in eight matches, since a defeat at Stamford Bridge in the 2005/06 round of 16.


As those fly posters suggest, the magnitude of these Barça-Blues games can affect the minds of players for weeks beforehand. Only last Saturday, Ernesto Valverde channelled Elvis’s ‘Always On My Mind,’ after a flat display away to 10-man Malaga, suggesting his team were already bracing themselves for tonight’s denouement.

‘We will have to suffer to progress past Chelsea,’ added the 54-year-old, echoing a phrase that often passes the lips of Antonio Conte. For his part, the Italian has asked his team ‘to play our football; every time we have the ball to create a chance.’

Barcelona could have few complaints had they gone in 3-0 down at half-time in the first leg, and a defensive slip by the otherwise secure Blues created the Catalans’ only real chance. Now, Chelsea are bidding to become the first English team to win away to two Spanish clubs in the same Champions League campaign.

 Chelsea have already won away in Spain this season, in September at Atletico Madrid

Victory is not essential, however. A score draw above 1-1, or 1-1 then success in a penalty shoot-out are other routes into the last eight.

Only once in all Chelsea’s previous meetings with Barcelona has the visiting team scored the first goal, although that was an own-goal. And every away goal can carry extra impact tonight, on morale as well as the outcome.

Were the Blues to succeed, it would buck the trend favouring the home side in round-of-16 second legs. Between 2003/04 and 2013/14, 72 per cent of second leg hosts progressed to the quarter-finals (the apparent advantage is far less pronounced in later rounds).

The most successes for teams playing away in the decisive leg was five of the eight, 10 years ago in 2007/08. Sevilla, Juventus, Real Madrid and Basel all won second-leg games on the road last week or this (the Swiss failing to overturn their aggregate deficit to Man City), with Man United and Spurs among their victims. That means half the round-of-16 second legs played to date have been won by visiting sides, and only one away team, Shakhtar, has lost.  

Chelsea, incidentally, have the best record of any English side in this stage of the competition.

Most Aggregate Round of 16 Wins to 2017

11  Barcelona

10   Bayern Munich

8   Chelsea, Real Madrid

6   Manchester United

5  Arsenal, Juventus, AC Milan

4 Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon


Meanwhile, it was announced recently that changes are afoot in UEFA competitions from next season, including staggered kick-off times beginning in the group stage. Out goes the uniform 7.45pm start and (in a blow to fans of ‘Eggheads’) in come 5.55pm and 8pm (UK time).

The club coefficient system is also being modified. The country share will be removed from the equation and a new points system introduced to reward past success in UEFA competitions – something that could work in the favour of teams such as Chelsea, who have won every European trophy.

UEFA hope amendments to the way financial payments are distributed will shift rewards away from TV market size and on to sporting performance.

For the teams progressing from this round of 16, the quarter-finals draw is on Friday, starting at 11am UK time. No teams will be seeded and clubs from the same national association can play each other.

The visit of Tottenham, set for Sunday 1 April, will switch to a 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday 31 March should Chelsea get through and be scheduled to play a Champions League quarter-final match on Tuesday 3 April.

If, at the end of the 90 minutes tonight, the two teams have the same number of aggregate goals, the team with the most away goals will progress to the quarter-finals.

Only if the score is 1-1 (2-2 on aggregate) will extra time be played and, if necessary, the game will be decided by penalty kicks, taken alternately by the teams.

Chelsea have won a penalty shoot-out already this season against Norwich in the FA Cup, having lost the previous three. Barcelona have not faced a shoot-out in European competition for 30 years, since beating Lech Poznan 5-4 in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. They did, however, pip Espanyol to the Supercopa de Catalunya trophy in that fashion a week ago tonight.

Chelsea’s future stars, the Under-19s, are also in action in Spain today, aiming to reach the finals of the UEFA Youth League by beating Real Madrid in their quarter-final at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium this afternoon.


Into the quarter-finals for the ninth time in our history.


Other Champions League fixtures tonight


Besiktas v Bayern Munich 5pm


Chelsea are hoping to avoid a fifth successive away defeat for the first time since losing seven consecutive games on the road in 2000.

Chelsea’s record in the round of 16 is eight wins and four defeats. The Blues lost at this stage to PSG in both 2014/15 and 2015/16.

We have played 10 two-legged knockout ties against Spanish teams (four wins, six defeats), most recently in the 2013/14 Champions League semi-finals when we lost to Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea are unbeaten in our past 10 trips to Spain (three wins, seven draws) since a 0-1 group stage loss at Real Betis in 2005.

Chelsea have won four of the six UEFA competition ties in which the opening leg at home was drawn, and won three of the four ties when drawing 1-1 at the Bridge first.

Our Champions League record
Group posRound reached
2005/062ndRound of 16
2009/101stRound of 16
2012/133rdGroup stage
2014/151stRound of 16
2015/161stRound of 16
Champions League results
12 SepQarabag (h)W 6-0
27 SepAtletico Madrid (a)W 2-1
18 OctRoma (h)D 3-3
31 OctRoma (a)L 0-3
22 NovQarabag (a)W 3-1
05 DecAtletico Madrid (h)D 1-1
20 FebBarcelona (h)D 1-1

Chelsea’s past six games

12 February - West Brom (h) - W 3-0


16 February - Hull City (h) - W 4-0

20 February - Barcelona (h) - D 1-1

25 February - Man United (a) - L 2-1

4 March - Man City (a) - L 1-0

10 March - Crystal Palace (h) - W 2-1

2017/18 scorers

Hazard 15 (3 pens), Willian 13 (1 pen), Morata 12, Batshuayi 10, Alonso 7, Pedro 6, Bakayoko 3, Moses 3, Rudiger 3, Azpilicueta 2, David Luiz 2, Fabregas 2 (1 pen), Zappacosta 2, Drinkwater 1, Giroud 1, Kante 1, Kenedy 1, Musonda Jr 1, own-goals 3


European games since

An away win: 0

An away draw: 5

An away defeat: 1



Eden Hazard has now recorded 100 assists and 87 goals in his 288 appearances since joining the club in 2012. (These assists are judged not for the last touch but by the subjective view of the club statistician for a crucial part played in the goal).




Major trophies 

La Liga                                           24, last in 2016

Copa del Rey                                 29, last in 2017

Copa de la Liga                               2, last in 1986

Supercopa de Espana                     12, last in 2016

European Cup/Champions League   4, last in 2015

European Cup Winners’ Cup           4, last in 1997

UEFA Super Cup                             4, last in 2015

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup                      3, last in 1966

FIFA Club World Cup                      3, last in 2015


Barcelona are bidding to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for a record-extending 11th year in a row.

Barcelona have been in the round of 16 every year since 2004/05, winning 11 of 13 ties. Their two defeats were against Chelsea in 2005 and Liverpool two years later.

Barça’s last encounter with an English team was against Manchester City (4-0) in last season’s group stage.

The Blaugrana have won 13 of their 23 two-legged ties with English clubs, losing 10. The 2012 defeat by Chelsea is the only reverse in their past seven contests.

The Catalans have won all three home games in this season’s competition, scoring eight goals and conceding one.

Barcelona are unbeaten in 24 Champions League home matches since their last defeat to Bayern Munich (0-3) in May 2013 (22 wins, two draws).

Ernesto Valverde’s side are unbeaten at Camp Nou in 20 matches in all competitions (18 wins, two draws).

Head Coach Ernesto Valverde      

Days in charge: 286

Played: 45

Won: 32

Drawn: 10

Lost: 3


Ten-year Champions League record

2007/08    Semi-finals

2008/09    Winners

2009/10    Semi-finals

2010/11    Winners

2011/12    Semi-finals

2012/13    Semi-finals

2013/14    Quarter-finals

2014/15    Winners

2015/16    Quarter-finals

2016/17    Quarter-finals


Champions League results
12 SepJuventus (h)W 3-0
27 SepSporting Lisbon (a) W 1-0
18 OctOlympiacos (h)W 3-1
31 OctOlympiacos (a)D 0-0
22 NovJuventus (a)D 0-0
05 DecSporting Lisbon (h)W 2-0
20 FebChelsea (a)D 1-1

Champions League scorers

Messi 4, Digne 1, Paco Alcacer 1, Rakitic 1, own goals 3


Champions League games since

A home win: 0

A home draw: 3

A home defeat: 24

La Liga table top six
2Atletico Madrid283664
3Real Madrid283757


Referee Damir Skomina, his assistant referees and additional assistant referees are all from Slovenia. The Blues have won once (the crucial quarter-final second leg against Benfica in 2012), lost once and drawn twice in Champions League games he has officiated to date. 



There are no suspensions. Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho is cup-tied.

Receiving three yellow cards in the Champions League results in a one-match suspension. All bookings are wiped out after the quarter-finals.

Bookings list
Chelsea: Alonso 1, Bakayoko 1, Cahill 1, David Luiz 1, Morata 1, Rudiger 1, Zappacosta 1.

Barcelona: Semedo 3 (served ban), Busquets 1, Digne 1, Gomes 1, Messi 1, Paulinho 1, Pique 1, Rakitic 1, Roberto 1, Suarez 1, Vidal 1.


- Visit later for part two of the Briefing