Chelsea were back in the Round of 16 draw for the first time in two years, after missing out on last season’s premier European competition thanks to that infamous 10th place finish in 2015-16. But last year’s return to glory under Conte has now been followed by semi-smooth sailing through the group stage (except when facing Roma).
The Blues managed to finish only second however, which severely restricted the potential Round of 16 opponents to just Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Besiktas.
The procedures for Monday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland called for one of the eight second-placed teams to be drawn first, then an opponent drawn from the eligible first-place teams.
Chelsea were the second to last team out of the hat, by which time only Barcelona and Besiktas were the two potential opponents left. Barcelona were the most likely opponents from the start, and they won this 50-50 as well.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two clubs since the Miracle at the Camp Nou (though that’s hardly the only famous European meeting between these two teams). Gary Cahill is the only remaining player at Chelsea from that game, incidentally (David Luiz was injured), while Cesc Fàbregas was a central character for Barcelona back then, incidentally, while.
The last three times Chelsea and Barcelona met in the Champions League knockout stages, one of the two teams eventually won the trophy. #UCLDraw— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) December 11, 2017
The Round of 16 matchups in full are as follows:
Juventus vs. Tottenham Hotspur
FC Basel vs. Manchester City
FC Porto vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Manchester United
Real Madrid vs. PSG
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. AS Roma
Chelsea vs. Barcelona
Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas
The round will be played starting in mid-February with the first legs and ending in early march with the second legs. Chelsea, as the lower seed, will play at home first. Exact dates and times will be set shortly.