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Camp Nou is Barcelona’s Champions League fortress

The Blaugranes have not lost a Champions League game at home since 2013

FC Barcelona v FC Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Group B Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona picked up an important 1-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, overwhelming Manchester United at Old Trafford. Dominating most aspects of gameplay, the Blaugranes provided the Red Devils with little to no breathing space, resulting in the English side not managing a single shot on target over the full 90 minutes.

Despite such dominance, there are still those fans who may back Manchester United to pull off another upset, thus emulating their 3-1 away win over PSG. This should not be the case, however, as the Blaugranes currently hold an undefeated streak in Champions League home games stretching back to mid-2013.

Let’s take a look at why the team are unlikely to give up this streak any time soon, as well as why the Barcelona faithful should expect safe passage to the semi-finals following their midweek clash.

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Reflecting back on Barca’s first home Champions League game this season against PSV Eindhoven, the Blaugranes came out to pressurise the Dutch side in an unforgiving manner, by retaining 75% possession and taking 21 shots on goal. What followed such dominant play was a four-goal win as well as a clean sheet, which was not difficult considering that PSV only managed one shot on target.

Moving on to Barca’s home game against Inter Milan, the Blaugranes went onto the field with a heavily-offensive mindset, and consequently camped in the Italian side’s half throughout the match. Barca amassed 64% ball possession, with 41% of their possession being on the attack and 21% being on the dangerous attack. This resulted in a total of 21 shots on goal with 11 shots on target, and a consequent 2-0 victory for the Blaugranes. Inter’s attacking stats pale in comparison, as they were only able to complete 10 shots with just three on target.

FC Barcelona v FC Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Group B Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

During Barca’s Camp Nou matchup with Tottenham Hotspur, a weaker lineup was fielded, with Messi, Suarez and Busquets coming off the bench late on and ter Stegen, Alba, Pique, Sergio Roberto and Vidal missing out on the clash entirely. This resulted in a decline in Barca’s dominance, with the Catalans only managing 48% ball possession, 14 shots in total and three on target. Such circumstances still left Barca relatively unfazed, as they got off to a phenomenal start by opening the scoring in the seventh minute. Unfortunately, a late equaliser resulted in Barca having to share the spoils.

Finally, came the Catalan giants’ 5-1 thumping of Lyon in front of a jovial Camp Nou crowd. With 19 shots in total, 10 on target, and 56% possession, Barca were clinical in their finishing and made sure to capitalise on their given opportunities. This is especially true considering that only 38% of their possession was spent on the attack with 23% being classified as dangerous attack.

FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Upon comparing each of this season’s Champions League results at home with one another, it becomes apparent that the Blaugranes’ defence have exhibited the physical prowess to cancel out any looming attack before it even transpires. while the Barca attack primarily focuses on overwhelming opposing defensive lines with a barrage of shots.

The Blaugranes did well to do just this against Manchester United, despite being away at Old Trafford, and should certainly manage this feat again when playing in front of a 90,000 strong Camp Nou crowd in what has become a fortress for the Blaugranes. All of which points to Barca having a clear path to the semi-final should all circumstances remain constant on Tuesday night.

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