Rivaldo Exclusive: Barça need a fast start to avoid a Chelsea surprise

Philippe Coutinho and Andres Iniesta
Barcelona proved they can play without Lionel Messi on the weekend but the little master returns for the second leg
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Barcelona legend looks ahead to Wednesday night's battle between Barcelona and Chelsea when he will be keen to see the home side out of the blocks fast to avoid an upset...

"But I think Barça need to go out and play on the front foot, to score a goal as early as possible. It's dangerous to keep Chelsea in contention and comfortable in the game. The longer the game stays at 0-0, the more Antonio Conte's team's hope will raise - don't forget that a single goal could qualify them."

Precious away goal

Barça's task wasn't easy at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea, as Premier League champions and a former Champions League winner, very powerful and competitive throughout.

But Barcelona took their chance when Chelsea's defence committed an error, and that gives them a commanding position in this second leg. They are at home and know that a 0-0 will put them through.

Going for the win could be crucial

But I think Barça need to go out and play on the front foot, to score a goal as early as possible. It's dangerous to keep Chelsea in contention and comfortable in the game. The longer the game stays at 0-0, the more Antonio Conte's team's hope will raise - don't forget that a single goal could qualify them.

Naturally, Chelsea would try to defend well and attack whenever possible, but they'll need to take some risks if they concede first or it stays at 0-0 for a long time.

With that in mind, we can not forget that the English team also has quality players at the front like Eden Hazard or Willian. The Brazilian was excellent in the first leg, scoring a great goal and hitting the woodwork twice.

He is a player with a strong personality on the pitch and Barça need to pay attention to his dangerous movements around the box.

Lionel Messi fresh and happy

After missing last weekend match due to his son's birth, Lionel Messi will come int this match fresh and highly motivated - an obvious positive for Barça.

The team did well without him against Málaga with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho showing that they can perform without their Argentinian star.

But let's not forget that Málaga are bottom of La Liga and this is a far tougher test. Nevertheless, with Messi on the pitch, the opponents have much more respect for Los Blaugrana.

Ultimately, like Jack Lang on the Betfair blog, I'm backing Barça to seal qualification to the quarter-finals. I fancy this will be a relatively comfortable 2-0 win. A strong start to the match, crowned with a goal in the first-half should leave Chelsea faithless and probably beaten.


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