We welcome back the Champions League on Tuesday night, and we are greeted with a titanic clash in the Parc De Princes between PSG and Chelsea. It was in the quarter-final round of last year’s competition that the two sides met, with Chelsea dumping the Parisian’s out on away goals. It was Eden Hazards penalty in Paris that proved decisive over the two ties. PSG head into the tie 3rd in Ligue 1 off the back of a remarkable draw against Caen on Saturday. Four of their players were injured during the match as the current French champions finished the game with 9 men, losing 2 goals in added time. Meanwhile, Chelsea have had the weekend off courtesy of Bradford City who eliminated them from the FA Cup allowing them extra rest before the game. PSG’s Qatari owners have pumped millions into the club in recent transfer windows with eyes for European glory, much the same as Abramovich has for Chelsea over the years. This makes for a momentous clash between two of the games financial titans, seeking further affirmation of their top tier status with Champions League success.
The home had a horrific time of it at the weekend against Caen. Not only did they surrender a 2-0 lead in injury time. But, the Parisian side also picked up 4 injuries during the match ahead of the UCL clash with Chelsea. The PSG players were dropping like flies during the game with Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos, Lucas Moura and Serge Aurier all succumbed to injuries that Laurent Blanc has confirmed rules them out of the Chelsea match. Meanwhile, influential midfielder Blaise Matuidi also left the game in the second half and is registered a as a doubt for Tuesday evening. Before this plague of injuries struck, PSG were already without Javier Pastore, who Blanc has said is unlikely to be ready for the game having been sidelined since the end of January. Full-back Maxwell also picked up a knock on Saturday that will have the Parisians sweating.
Chelsea on the other hand have a near complete squad for the trip to Paris on Tuesday. Most importantly, they will be able to bring Diego Costa back into the squad, the Premier League top goal scorer has been serving a 3 match ban in the Premier League, but is available for the Champions League clash. John Obi Mikel was Chelsea’s only injury for the Everton game last week, so Mourinho should be looking at a full complement of players for the round of 16 game. Fabregas even came off the bench against Everton, so the Spanish midfielder should slot back into the Chelsea midfield for the game.
- The two sides met in the Quarter-Final round of the Champions League last year. PSG won their home leg last year 3-1.
- One of the goals in the 3-1 victory was score by David Luiz. The Brazilian defender was playing for Chelsea at the time and scored an own goal. He is now a PSG player.
- Mourinho’s first Champions League game in charge of Chelsea took place at the Parc De Princes against PSG. Chelsea won the game back in the 2004/05 group stage 3-0. Drogba scored twice and John Terry scored the other.
- This win is Chelsea’s only victory on French soil in 6 attempts
- PSG are unbeaten at home in European competition in their last 32 matches. Hapoel Tel Aviv were the last team to beat PSG in Paris back in the 2006/07 UEFA cup group stage.
- PSG have faced English opposition 9 times. Their record in these matches is W2 D3 L4. At home the record is W2 D1 D1
Paris St Germain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The enigmatic Swede has been labelled a player over the years who doesn’t rise to the big occasions. After the raft of injuries PSG suffered on Saturday, there will be even more expectation on Ibrahimovic to lift his side and put in a big performance against Chelsea. He has the qualities to cause problems for any defence in the world and no matter what people think of him he has been one of the top players on the planet. With 11 goals in 17 league appearance this season and 2 goals in 3 Champions League games Ibra is the goal threat for PSG. They will be expecting him to find the net at the Parc De Prince on Tuesday to put his side in the most advantageous position possible for their trip to Stamford Bridge. He has the ability, the physical attributes and the intelligence to win this game for PSG. It will all come down to whether Ibra ‘Dare’s to Zlatan’ or not on Tuesday.
Chelsea: Diego Costa
After sitting out Chelsea’s past 3 fixtures through suspension, striker Diego Costa should chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch and add to his already impressive debut season in London. The club’s top goal scorer has helped rid the club of any impotence it had in the forward position last season, his burgeoning partnership with Cesc Fabregas is fast becoming one of the most deadly in Europe, let alone the Premier League. Although the former Atletico man has 17 goals in 19 League games he is yet to net in his 5 Champions League appearances. You would expect Costa to remedy this sooner rather than later. He should be fresh, he should be motivated and he should be an absolute handful for the PSG back line to deal with.
The difference a game can make. It you had asked me for a fixture prior to PSG’s horror show against Caen I would have believed they could do the business against Chelsea like they did last year at the Parc De Princes. However, after relinquishing a 2 goal lead and losing 4 players ahead of the game, it would seem a big ask for the French champions to do a job on the Premier League leaders. They still have more than enough talent available to them PSG, from back to front, with players like Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic more than capable of putting Chelsea to the limits. It is the psychological effect it could have on both sides. Chelsea will arrive with more confidence knowing that PSG’s squad has been depleted by so much so quickly. What’s more, Diego Costa should be fired up for this having had to sit out the past 3 Chelsea games through suspension. With no goals for him yet in the Champions League he will want to get off the mark. It will be a tight game but I can see Mourinho’s men taking a positive result to Stamford Bridge for the second leg