Our event of the day is the first leg of the last 16 match of the UEFA Champions League between former champions Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in London. The teams are facing each other for the 13th time in Champions League history - there have been 4 Chelsea wins, 3 Barcelona wins and 5 draws. Last time they met in the 2012 semi-finals, Chelsea were victorious 1-0 at home before holding on for the 2-2 draw a week later at the Camp Nou - Chelsea would go on to beat Bayern Munich in the final. The Blues finished second in the group stage this season behind Roma winning three out of their six games (W3 D2 L1). Chelsea have shown mixed form heading into tonight’s game, winning their last two games against West Brom in the Premier League and Hull City in the FA Cup after a series of poor performances since the beginning of the year - losing the EFL Cup semi-final against Arsenal as well as clashes against Bournemouth and Watford in the Premier League. Whereas, Barcelona topped their group with four wins out of their six games (W4 D2) as well as being unbeaten this season in La Liga. According to Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, the Blues are the underdogs and will have to play a perfect game to beat one of the best teams in the world.
As usual, Lionel Messi will be a big threat, he has scored 17 goals in his last 16 games against English teams. However, he has never scored against Chelsea. Chelsea Left Wing Back, Marcos Alonso, returns after missing Chelsea’s last three games, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro will be playing against their former team. A terrific game of high quality football is expected at Stamford Bridge tonight.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the round of 32 at the ATP Rio Open in Rio de Janeiro. Highlights for today are the matches between Dušan Lajović and world number four Dominic Thiem as well as Thiago Monteiro versus world number 19 Pablo Cuevas. In football, there are eight EFL Championship games including Aston Villa’s match against Preston North End at Villa Park in Birmingham. Troyes meet Dijon in Ligue 1 action at the Stade de l'Aube in Troyes and Bayern Munich play Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League at the Allianz Arena in Munich. In the NHL, there are 9 clashes with the Washington Capitals against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues versus the San Jose Sharks as some of the highlights. It is day 11 at the Winter Olympics with medals on offer in the women’s 3000m relay short track speed skating, the biathlon - 2 x 6km women and 2 x 7.5km men mixed relay, ice dance figure skating and freestyle skiing ladies halfpipe.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by UEFA; Chelsea
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