Chelsea welcome holders Barcelona with Blues manager José Mourinho revealing that he expects a better spectacle than their previous meetings in the competition at the knockout stage.
Both sides have knocked the other out of the competition in the past two seasons but with less at stake ths time round, Mourinho expects a better game.
“Because this is a game in the group stage it provides the opportunity to see great football, calm football,” said Mourinho.
“There is more chance for the quality to shine through because the teams are not fearful of the situation if they lose. I also hope to see eleven men finish the game on each side.”
Chelsea have a goalkeeping crisis on their hands having lost both Per Cech and Carlo Cudicini to injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Reading. The loss of the pair opens the dooor for Chelsea’s third-choice keeper, Hilário, a 30-year-old Portuguese who was signed from CD Nacional in the summer.
“He’s not a kid, he’s 30 years old and he’s played in the Champions League before. I trust him and the team trusts him.”
There are also fitness doubts over Claude Makelele, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba but all three should be available.
Barcelona are without Samuel Eto’o who has a long-term knee injury and former Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen looks set to earn a starting place on his return to Stamford Bridge. Elsewhere, full back Juliano Belletti is out with a shoulder injury.
Coach Frank Rijkaard suggested that the calmer atmosphere surrounding this game could be due to the loss of both Chelsea goalkeepers.
“That may be why things are a bit more peaceful than in the past, possibly that’s why the Chelsea people are calmer than before,” he said.
“They are a great club with wonderful players to choose from. Of course it’s not easy for them to lose Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini but other people have their own qualities and can show them on the pitch. We don’t have specific tactics to take advantage of the situation.”
Hilário; Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole; Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben; Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba.
Víctor Valdés; Gianluca Zambrotta, Carles Puyol, Rafael Márquez, Giovanni van Bronckhorst; Xavi Hernández, Edmílson, Deco; Lionel Messi, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ronaldinho.
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