Thursday, 8 February 2018

Chelsea handed Champions League blow as Barcelona boss delivers team news ahead of first leg

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Barcelona have been handed a massive injury boost ahead of this month’s Champions League round of 16 clash first leg against Chelsea.



Ousmane Dembele, who signed for the Catalan giants last summer from Borussia Dortmund, has endured a frustrating start to life at the Camp Nou as he’s made just eight appearances across all competitions so far this season.



On only his third outing for the club against Getafe back in September he sustained a thigh muscle injury which kept him out of action for four months.

Upon returning to action during a Copa Del Rey clash against Celta Vigo a few weeks ago the youngster suffered another setback just four games later.

A thigh injury picked up in their 4-2 win over Real Sociedad last month had placed his involvement at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday February 20 in serious doubt as it was announced by the La Liga leaders that he was set to be out of action for up to a month.



It was reported by Spanish media outlet Onda Cero Radio last week that Dembele is back in full training and the aim is to be available for selection for the trip to West London.

Now Barca manager Ernesto Valverde has provided another positive update on the winger’s fitness.

“He is well, he’s training with the team and we think that he could be back either this week or next week”, Valverde told reporters.



Barca will be without their January transfer window signing Philippe Coutinho for both legs due to his involvement in the competition for Liverpool during the first half of the season.

The Blues’ trio of signings last month in Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud are all eligible having been registered before the deadline earlier in the week.

In terms of form, both sides will go into the first-leg on the back of contrasting results. Barcelona are running away in the La Liga title race, while the Blues suffered a 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth last time out and have a fight on their hands to finish in the top four.



Although there is still plenty of time for things to change before February 20.

Will Chelsea overcome Barcelona in the Champions League? Leave your prediction in the comments below.

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