Lionel Messi Is Not a Gym Freak, Reveals Ivan Rakitic

Ahead of Chelsea's clash against FC Barcelona, former Blues star Frank Lampard believes that N'Golo Kante will play a crucial role in stopping Barcelona star, Lionel Messi.

Chelsea has rebounded from successive defeats earlier this month to Bournemouth and Watford with wins over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City in the FA Cup last week. Given Barca's impressive form though, Antonio Conte may feel his side need an advantage to take to the Camp Nou if they're to have a good chance of progressing to the quarter finals.

Conte admits his players will have to work their socks off to restrict Lionel Messi and company, while making intelligent use of the ball when they do have possession.

We must have great respect, but at the same time we have to try to be excited to play this type of game.

The Italian is likely to ask his team to hit Barcelona on the break with pace - a reason why he is set to employ a 3-4-3 formation over 3-5-2. After six games they won three, drew two and lost once, scoring 16 and conceding eight. "Messi has the capacity to solve situations, create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score".

"We knew that it would be hard". What we try and do during training.

Jordi Alba has been a revelation this season under Ernesto Valverde with the full back admitting that the departure of Neymar has freed up space for him in attack. They have an absurd plus-51 goal differential and a seven-point lead on Atletico Madrid in La Liga, and in early February they secured a spot in the Copa del Rey final with a couple of succinct performances against Valencia.

What's your prediction for the first leg between Chelsea and Barca tonight?

Barcelona are well known for their fluid passing football, and this could help Chelsea break up Barcelona's build up play.

A powerful club such as Chelsea should be in contention for the English title and now they have another tough task in the Champions League, facing one of the main favourites to win the European title.

Chelsea will be at home for the first leg of the tie and as a result, it is very important that Conte and his team wins this game. We need to bear that in mind.

The Chelsea vs Barcelona, Champions League match can be seen live on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD. David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko are still battling injuries and are unlikely to feature in the game. And so as far as Barcelona are concerned, the Catalans will surely be without the services of winter signing Philippe Coutinho as he is already cup-tied with Liverpool.

  • Julie Sanders