Chelsea v Barcelona: Blues to net first to disrupt Catalan rhythm

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Roberto Di Matteo and his Chelsea side face the sternest of tests when they take on Barcelona in a mouth-watering semi-final first leg tie at Stamford Bridge as 4/1 outsiders to record a victory, despite having home advantage.

The Catalan side have been in sparkling form in La Liga of late and have cut the gap to Real Madrid to five points ahead of El Clasico this coming Saturday.

The Spanish club enter their fifth consecutive semi-final undefeated in their last 15 games and are 8/11 to taste success in London.

The draw is available at 5/2 and that should get some attention, considering the last three meetings have ended in stalemates, and with Chelsea never having lost a Champions League semi-final at the Bridge, a draw may be their best hope.

Lionel Messi has netted 32 goals in his last 27 European appearances, whilst he has also become the first man to strike 14 times in a Champions League campaign, and is subsequently the 5/2 favourite to initiate the scoring here.

Chelsea’s powerhouse Didier Drogba has two in his last four against the Spanish champions, and after his wonderful strike in the FA Cup semi-final success over Spurs he will be brimming with confidence for this clash, and the Ivorian is 9/1 to strike the first blow.

The Pensioners have opened the scoring in every one of their ten games in Europe this term, a record only matched by Real Madrid, so getting behind Chelsea to be leading at the break with a Barca win by full-time is inviting at 22/1.

For those believing the London club can hold the Blaugrana to a draw, it is 14/1 for Chelsea to relinquish a half-time lead in a game that ends all-square.

Any hardened Chelsea supporters, or punters displaying faith in Di Matteo’s men, can get odds of 7/1 for the Blues to control the game and be leading after both 45 minutes and when the final whistle sounds.

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