Apr 2, 2014 at 7.45pm (UK)
Parc des Princes
Its PSG vs Chelsea tonight! Jose Mourinho’s men face their toughest assignment in the Champions League this season when they take the pitch at Parc De Princes to face French Ligue Champions Paris St Germain in the first leg of quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Blues travel to France at the end of a disastrous reversal at the hands of Crystal Palace last weekend, a John Terry own goal which blew Chelsea’s hopes of reclaiming their famed Premier League title. Laurent Blanc’s side are however in imperious form sitting atop the French League and looking well placed to retain their title, being 13 points clear from their nearest rivals.
PSG overcame Bayer Leverkusen in the earlier knockout stages by a convincing margin but would be mindful of the fact that they were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the competition by Barcelona last season. The French side are unbeaten in their last 28 home matches in Europe and have won their last seven in Ligue and look imperious going into the encounter. Chelsea however edged out Turkish giants Galatasaray by a 3-1 aggregate and history suggests the Stamford Bridge side have been in the semi-finals of the Champions League in seven of the last 11 seasons.
With Nemanja Matic Mohamed Salah are ineligible, David Luiz might be opted in the defensive midfield role alongside Ramires as the double pivot as Mourinho might not risk Frank Lampard with a second game in four days. Fernando Torres’ abysmal run continues but the Spaniard should start to lead the line playing up front behind the triumvirate of Oscar, Hazard and Willian.
The injury list includes Eto’o (hamstring) and Ashley Cole (knee) who have stayed behind in England.
For the French outfit, Ezequiel Lavezzi will partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani in a fearful front three up front. In defense it would be Thiago Silva and Alex holding fort while Cabaye, Marco Verratti and Matuidi taking centre stage in the middle of the park.
PSG vs Chelsea: What to expect from the match
It will be a tight encounter right from the start as both sides will feel they can grab the game by the scruff of the neck. While the home side would look to take advantage of their enviable attacking prowess, Chelsea would be hoping they can keep PSG from breaching their defense and grab a precious away goal to take back to Stamford Bridge. However much will depend on how both the sides’ midfield operate as any significant carvings can lead to clear cut chances in this cagey encounter
PSG vs Chelsea
Possible starting lineups
PSG: Sirigu; Jallet, Silva, Alex, Digne; Verratti, Matuidi, Cabaye; Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Lampard, Mikel; Hazard, Torres, Schurrle
- Chelsea have played PSG twice in Europe before this season and have kept a clean sheet in both matches (excl. qualifiers).
- Chelsea lost their only previous knockout tie against a French side in the Champions League (vMonaco in 2003-04).
- Chelsea have conceded only two goals in their last seven Champions League matches.
- Fernando Torres has averaged a goal every 157 minutes for Chelsea in European competition (15 in 34 apps).
- No side has scored with a higher proportion of their shots than PSG (28.2%) this season in the CL.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in five of their eight CL games this season; a competition-high alongside Man Utd.
- Paris St Germain have scored in 16 successive Champions League matches, netting at least twice in 12 of these games.
Stats compiled from au.eurosport.com
Given PSG’s superb home record and Chelsea’s woes at travels away from home, Laurent Blanc’s side can well gain a 2-1 win in front of their home faithful while Chelsea might get away with a lucky away goal at the end.