Barca to come out on top in tight game: Barcelona vs Chelsea Preview
Barcelona host Chelsea in their Champions League last 16 second leg, with the tie finely poised after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game, using expected goals (xG) to generate the best bets.
Barcelona Expected Goals (xG)
Barcelona were kept extremely quiet in the first leg, and had it not been for a defensive lapse from Chelsea, they would be having to overturn a deficit in this second leg. Other than Lionel Messi’s equaliser, they generated just 0.4 xG, a really low total for a team of the stature of Barcelona.
This kind of performance was anticipated by our Analyst (first leg preview), who pointed out that Barca have been far from impressive in their performances or their results in Europe this season. Including the first leg 1-1, they have scored just 10 goals in seven Champions League games – something out of the ordinary for Barca.
That being said, they do still have the upper-hand in the tie having scored that away goal, but are expected to set up in a similar way again, and to make the game tight. They have the quality to blow Chelsea away, but may leave it late to kill off the tie if Chelsea start to over-commit.
Chelsea Expected Goals (xG)
Chelsea gained a much needed boost on Saturday with victory over Crystal Palace, just their second win in six league games. It was a good attacking display also, generating 4.2 xG – their best under Antonio Conte.
Conceding that equaliser in the first leg will have been tough for Chelsea to take, having defended so well throughout, but they limited Barcelona to just 0.6 xG, and not many teams are capable of doing that.
That defensive performance stands them in good stead ahead of the second leg, as they have proof that they are capable of limiting a potent attacking force. If they can remain in the tie for long enough, they have a chance, as this Barcelona team isn’t as good as yesteryear, but the feeling is that they will just fall short.
Another tight game of few chances is expected, as both teams take a more defensive approach once again. Barcelona are expected to win narrowly, and there is value in backing 1-0.
Under 2.5 goals @ 11/8
Barcelona to win 1-0 @ 7/1