David Luiz is almost certain to be absent for Chelsea after being stretchered off the pitch at Wembley at the weekend with a hamstring injury. Gary Cahill should fill in.
Branislav Ivanovic will return at right-back after missing the win over Spurs due to a domestic suspension.
Fernando Torres is likely to return up front in place of Didier Drogba, while it is anyone's guess as to whether Di Matteo will stick with Salomon Kalou in his starting XI, or if he decides to bring the likes of Raul Meireles back into the side.
Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz and Meireles are all one yellow card away from a European suspension.
Xavi was taken off at half time in the win over Levante at the weekend. Given that Barca were a goal down at the time and had to win the game to keep up the chase with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, it cannot be considered a tactical change and can only be assumed to relate to Xavi's recent injury troubles. Pep Guardiola will hope that his decision to withdraw his playmaker pays off and he is fit to play at Stamford Bridge.
Cesc Fabregas should start, on his first return to England since moving to Barcelona last summer. He has been involved in a fair few tenacious encounters at Stamford and will provide valuable experience for the Catalans.
Villa, Abidal and Fontas remain absent, while Puyol and Mascherano are one yellow card away from missing the second leg.
Chelsea and Barcelona will reignite their rivalry at Stamford, just short of 3 years after Chelsea were denied a place in the final thanks to a last minute crucial equaliser from Andres Iniesta to put Barca through on away goals, after the first leg had remained goalless. The sides also met 4 times in 2006, with the spoils shared - the last 6 meetings have, in all, seen 4 draws, one win apiece and 6 goals apiece. Chelsea have won 3 and lost only 1 of their last 5 home games against Barcelona, but this is a vastly improved side that they face here, and past results will be of little significance. The bitterness between the teams will certainly remain, though.
The Londoners come into the game off the back of a resounding 5-1 win over Tottenham to reach the final of the FA Cup, and while they will have soaring confidence as a result, they will be tired after a tough game and only 2 full days of rest before this game. They have, though, lost only 1 of their last 12 games and none of their last 11 at home, successfully juggling forays in the FA Cup and Champions League as well as improving their league form and position in the Premier League. They will need to try and get hold of the ball in this home leg so as not to be worn down by Barcelona's passing game.
Barcelona have failed to win only 1 of their last 14 matches, although that game was their last European away game - a goalless draw at AC Milan. Milan's defence has been much more watertight this season than Chelsea's, and the Blues will do well to keep Barcelona out for a full 90 minutes. Lionel Messi will lead that line once again, and having scored 29 goals in his last 15 appearances for club and country, is likely to be on the scoresheet yet again.
Both teams are on good runs of form at the moment, but Barcelona's superiority cannot be underestimated. They simply have the better players and are justifiably huge favourites to progress. The game at Chelsea will be tight to begin with and there should be a good atmosphere, but Barcelona should just be too strong for Chelsea to handle.
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