Josh Mart takes a chance to preview PSG’s trip to West London to face Chelsea in the Champions League quarter final second leg. The Parisians will be delighted with last week’s 3-1 triumph over ‘The Blues’ in the Parc des Princes, with Javier Pastore snatching what could be a crucial third goal in stoppage time. Trouble in Paris marred last week’s match somewhat, with violent clashes in the city centre. PSG’s 3000 strong support will aid what is sure to be a match to remember for both sides.
PSG are going so strongly in almost every competition this season, and the dream of a treble is still very much alive. PSG saw off Stade de Reims at the weekend in a typically ruthless 3-0 victory. This win means that Laurent Blanc’s men are currently 13 points clear of second place Monaco meaning that they have all but regained the Ligue 1 title. The PSG owners dream of success on the continent too and so far so good this season. The first leg result gives PSG a great chance of getting to the semi-final stage for the first time in the club’s history.
Chelsea have been having a few problems in the Premier League as well as in Europe of late, losing away at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in recent weeks. However, at Stamford Bridge, they remain formidable with yet another home win against Stoke City at the weekend. Mourinho takes great pride in his fabulous home record during both spells at Stamford Bridge and has been quoted as saying he is very confident of his side’s chances tonight.
Squad Selection and Tactics
Chelsea will be without the suspended Ramires and the ineligible duo of Matic and Salah for tonight’s encounter. Samuel Etoo may return to the starting 11 after missing the previous few weeks through injury and this would provide a boost for Chelsea as Etoo has been in good goal scoring form at Stamford Bridge this season. I expect Chelsea to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Cahill and Terry expected to start again in the heart of the defence alongside Ivanovic and Azpilicueta in the full back positions. Lampard could start alongside Luiz in defensive midfield with Willian and Hazard flanking Oscar in midfield.
PSG will be without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg. However, Blanc could be able to call on Van der Wiel to replace Jallet after the Dutchman made a return to the PSG fold at the weekend after injury. Lucas is expected to come into the side to replace Ibrahimovic and this could provide PSG with more pace and balance to the attack with Cavani able to play in his preferred position of a central striker. Verratti, Matuidi and Motta are all likely to start again, despite some criticism, particularly in the first half of last week’s match at the Parc des Princes.
Hazard (Chelsea)- Eden Hazard has been by far and away Chelsea’s best player this season, producing some fabulous moments of skill and ability. His goals and assists this season have been key to Chelsea’s season and they will be hoping he can propel them into the next round.
Lavezzi (PSG)- Lavezzi has had to be patient this campaign, with Laurent Blanc having a lot of options up front, but he was fabulous in the first leg scoring a beautiful goal and providing a huge threat on the counter attack. PSG will need his pace and trickery on the counter again tonight if they are going to be successful.
This match is very hard to call as both sides have a lot to lose: Mourinho’s proud record of always reaching the semi-finals and PSG will not want to surrender their lead they worked so hard for at the Parc des Princes. The fact that Chelsea need to win combined with their imperious home form suggests that the London side may edge it although I expect PSG to score. It promises to be a great game.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 PSG