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Monday, October 30, 2006

Chelsea and Barcelona will fight for the first place in the Champions League

Time for revenge... again. Chelsea Football Club will look to gain the first place of Group A with a win at Camp Nou on Tuesday against a somewhat struggling Barcelona squad.

The two European powerhouses will once again go toe-to-toe and have become quite familiar with one another. Two weeks ago, Chelsea downed Ronaldinho's team 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 3 courtesy of a brilliant goal from Didier Drogba. The two have also met up in each of the past two Champions League knockout stages, splitting the two contests.

The last clash was a slow-paced affair that was surprisingly devoid of quality scoring chances. However, Ronaldinho and company are sure to bring a different intensity to the contest this time around, as they urgently need to begin piling up the points in order to advance to the knockout stage and have an opportunity to defend their title.

In fact, Barca currently sits five points behind the Blues in the group, and is level on points with Werder Bremen in second place. The German side takes on Levski on Tuesday, and is likely to earn the maximum points, making Tuesday's encounter with FC Chelsea all the more important.

We must consider that Jose Mourinho's team is in top form and will make it difficult for the hosts to come away with more than a point. Chelsea is unbeaten in its last eight league matches and has won all three matches in Champions League play so far. Despite the absence of the team's top two keepers, the Blues have continued their torrid pace with third-stringer Hilario between the pipes. The player blanked Barca two weeks ago and will be looking for more of the same as he operates behind a rock-solid back line.

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