Reigning champions of England, Chelsea will face off against the Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Both teams will be keen to go through to the next round of Europe’s top Cup competition, as they face off once again in the round of 16. Laurent Blanc’s side have a slight advantage over the Premier League outfit, as they beat them 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in the reverse fixture and will want to push through for a win once again. The two sides will go into the game at the back of a draw and will want to score some quick goals. Guus Hiddink’s side is out of the race to qualify for the tournament for next season and their only hope to secure qualification will be by winning it and PSG stand in their way now.
In their last five games in all competitions, the west London side have just lost once which was to the French outfit back in mid-February. On the other hand, the away side will go into the match with a similar record after their 2-1 loss to Lyon towards the end of last month. It could once again be a close encounter with a dramatic finish and it will be interesting to see
which side does eventually go through.
For Chelsea, Kurt Zouma, John Terry and Radamel Falcao are surely out injured and will miss this crucial tie. Apart from them, Kenedy, Pedro and Diego Costa could all be fit in time to possibly make it to the squad with Hiddink stating that the former Barca man is fit. It is a really important game and Hiddink might risk some of his players in the match, knowing that if his side does indeed go through to the next round, he can probably rest them for some time prior to the next set of fixtures.
Also, PSG will be without right-back Serge Aurier, who is suspended after insulting Blanc and his team-mates in an online video. Further, Italian midfielder Marco Verratti is not fully fit and is doubtful for selection. Apart from that, the French giants are at full strength with stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Luiz and Thiago Silva all back in the side after being rested in their last match.
Chelsea: Courtois; Baba Rahman, Ivanovic, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Mikel, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian; Costa.
PSG: Trapp; Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Maxwell; Verratti, Motta, Matuidi; Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria.
Key players to watch out for:
The Brazilian could make the difference on the night as his side will need to score at least once to go through. After the 2-1 loss in Paris, it is crucial that the Blues get an early goal to set the tone for the game in London and the superstar winger could be the man to do it for Hiddink. Willian has also been good from set-pieces this season and will surely be a threat for the visitors if Chelsea manage to get a free-kick in his shooting range.
2. Edison Cavani:
Unlike his team-mate Zlatan who is also a threat to any side, the Uruguay international has a lot more pace and can cover a lot of ground. The defence will have to track him around the park in order to keep him quiet and co-ordinate well to break down play. Cavani had scored the winner in the home leg after coming on as a substitute and will once again be in the spotlight to produce some more magic if his side are to go through.
Chelsea 1-1 PSG
Though there is no doubt that Chelsea have been doing really well over the years at home. However, in the absence of skipper John Terry and Diego Costa’s fitness woes, the game could prove to be evenly matched which would mean that the visitors should go through to the next round.