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Tony Conte. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

An extraordinary week in the life of Chelsea Football Club looms as Barcelona visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Tuesday... followed by the Blues' reunion with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford on Sunday next week.

Everything's finely poised. Barca and Chelsea have met on 15 occasions, with the current record reading WON 5, LOST 5, DRAWN 5.

The last time the red-and-blues visited was the 1-0 first leg win in 2012, a game never to be forgotten by the stoical lady who co-ordinates, chivvies and organises the vipers’ nest of journalists at Stamford Bridge.

Instead of accommodating the typical 90-strong phalanx of hacks occupying the blue flip-up seats in the press box which wraps around the players' tunnel, she had to somehow seat 350, including so many Fifa 'observers' that it resembled their annual office outing.

In their head-to-head meetings, Barca have so far scored 25 times to Chelsea's 20. The follow-up fixture will be in Spain on March 14, perhaps giving the Catalans a marginal edge.

The fact that Chelsea have home advantage on Tuesday has not escaped Mourinho, who will not return from Sevilla with his squad until the small hours of Thursday.

Tony Conte's task is to ignore the inevitable mind games being played up the M6 and focus instead on juggling his team for both games.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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