Chelsea visit Parc des Princes on Tuesday night to take on the current French Champions PSG. Revenge will be on the minds for all the PSG players as Chelsea were the team that knocked PSG out at the Quarter Final stage last season despite winning the first leg at home. This promises to be one of the most anticipated re-matches in recent history of Champions League with the propsect of seeing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Luiz going up against their former manager Jose Mourinho.
To add spice to the event PSG’s long term target Eden Hazard will visit Paris having signed his new log-term deal and ending any hopes for the French champions to sign him in the summer. Chelsea will start the tie as favorites to go through to the next rounds, but Mourinho will know the difficulty of this task as his side suffered a 3-1 loss at Parc des Princes last seaon.
Tactical Battle: Recent form, Team news, Possible Lineups and Key Men to watch
All is not good for Laurent Blanc and his team, as there is a growing feeling that PSG are moving away from their motto of “Dream Bigger”. PSG were expected to make a light-weight of the Ligue 1 title this season but are currently sweating at 3rd place with only 13 games remaining.
PSG are coming in to the game on back of the worse match possible for them. PSG suffered 4 injury blows against Caen in Ligue 1. They not only finished the game with 9 men but gave away their 2-0 lead in the game. PSG have won just 4 of their last 8 games and will approach the game with a rather indifferent form.
PSG are missing Yohan Cabaye (groin), Marquinhos (hamstring), Serge Aurier (thigh) and Lucas Moura (hamstring) for this all important game. There is a growing concern over Blaise Matuidi as well but Blanc has assured over the fitness of the Frenchman.
Blanc likes to operate with a 4-3-3 formation which helps him play Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani in the same team with fast wingers like Eziquel Lavezzi or Lucas Moura operating from the flanks. Injury to Lucas will mean a guaranteed start for Lavezzi.
Laurent Blanc will depend on his key mid field players Marco vaerratti, Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta to lay the ground work for the likes of Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Lavezzi to hurt Chelsea.
PSG’s defense is built around Brazilians Thiago Silva and former Chelsea man David Luiz. Their stability at the back will allow the available full-backs Maxwell and Van Der Weil to go forward and disrupt Chelsea’s play.
Possible Lineup: PSG (4-3-3) – Sirigu, Van der Wiel, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell, Motta, Verrati, Matuidi, Lavezzi, Cavani, Ibrahimovic
Chelsea go in to the all important clash against PSG as the league leaders in the Premier League and looking like the inevetible champions of England. Contrary to their league position, Chelsea have shown a rather inconsistent form over the recent few weeks. Chelsea have won 6 out of their 10 games in all competitions. During that spell they have faced a crushing 5-3 defeat against Tottenham and a humiliating 4-2 loss and FA Cup exit by Bradford.
Chelsea enjoyed their weekend off due to the non involvement in the FA Cup and will go in to the game with players rested and feeling fresh.
Jose Mourinho will stick to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and will welcome Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa back in to the line up. Costa (suspension) and Fabregas (injury) have missed last 3 games for the blues and with them back in the side, Mourinho will look to take early advantage in the tie. New signing Juan Cuadrado could push Oscar for a starting 11 place.
Mourinho will demand a match winning performance from Eden Hazard who has recently signed his new contract at Stamford Bridge. Blues manager will have to take a call on the goal keeper who will start the game against PSG. Mourinho has been keen to play Peter Cech in the Champions League but new signing Thibaout Courtois will be pushing his claim to start as well.
Possible Lineup: Chelsea (4-2-3-1) – Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa
Recent Head to head history between Chelsea and PSG
Key Men to watch
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG): Not going by the aura but base don his recnt performances it has to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic for PSG. Since moving to French Capital, Zlatan has made a habit of doing well in big matches and we can surely expect the charismatic Swed to turn on the heat on his former manager Jose Mourinho.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea): Given how Hazard was once a target for the PSG, the timing for his new contract makes complete sense. Chelsea wanted to secure his long-term future before their visit to Parc de Prince and Chelsea’s prince will surely be up for this big game as he has been all season. The Belgian has managed 11 goals and 7 assists in his 30 appearances for Chelsea this season and will be the main man for Mourinho tonight.
Prediction: Injury will play a huge part in decisng the outcome of this tie. PSG are missing 4 of their key men and it could stretch to 7 depending on teh late fitness tets for the likes of Matuidi, Maxwell and Van Der Wiel. Chelsea are in decent form and with a full strength sqquad will approach the game fresh after their weekend off. Taking all the factors in to equation, I see an away win for Chelsea. I am going with a 3-1 win for Chelsea and a red card for PSG.
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