The Champions League action resumes on Tuesday evening as PSG host Chelsea in one of the high profile encounters of the first knock out round first leg.
Paris Saint Germain are unanimously running away with the French Ligue one at the moment, but in Europe they met a different proportion in the form of Chelsea.
The defending English Premier League Champions Chelsea may be on the bottom half of the domestic league table, but in Europe they always looked like the team to beat.
PSG vs Chelsea : Team Form Comparison
PSG have only lost once in 39 matches in all competitions this season. And the defeat came from Real Madrid at Santiago Bernebeu in the Champions League group stage by a 1-0 score line. Moreover they are won 32 matches this season and drawn 6, showing their dominance in France this season. They are currently top of the Ligue 1 after 26 matches with 24 points ahead of second placed AS Monaco.
Chelsea are currently 12th in the Premier League after their turbulent start under former manager Jose Mourinho. But since the Portuguese manager is shown the exit door, the Blues have not lost in 12 matches in all competitions.
They have shown swift improvements under the interim manager Guus Hiddink and the players have started to perform at a higher level. Especially the likes of Ivanovic and Costa who struggled during the first half of the season have lifted their performance as Azpilicueta and Willian look unstoppable as ever.
PSG : Team News
PSG head coach Laurent Blanc has no major injury concerns and have a fully fit squad at his disposal for this first leg home tie against Chelsea.
At the same time, the French Champions are still waiting on the fitness of Marco Veratti who has returned to full training after recovering from the injury he suffered on 1st of February.
The biggest set back for the Parisian outfit is the absence of Serge Aurier, who is indefinitely suspended by the club on Sunday (14 February) for the homophobic remarks on manager Laurent Blanc and team mates Angel di Maria, Gregory van der Wiel and Salvatore Sirigu on social media.
PSG : Predicted Lineup vs Chelsea (4-3-3)
Trapp – Maxwell, Silva, Luiz, Marquinhos – Matuidi, Stambaouli, Rabiot – Di Maria, Cavani, Ibrahamovic.
Chelsea : Team News
Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink will be with out captain John Terry for this crucial tie, who is injured following the angle knock he picked up against Newcastle in the weekend. Falcao and Kurt Zouma are long term absentees for the Blues, while defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is suspended.
Branislav Ivanovic is expected to partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence with Baba Rahman making a start at the left-back.
Diego Costa has recovered from a nose injury he picked up in training ahead of the Premier League clash against Newcastle and he expected to start.
It will be interesting to see if the Dutch boss recall Oscar to the starting line-up or stick with Pedro who had scored twice in the 5-1 rout of Newcastle United.
Chelsea : Predicted Line-up vs PSG (4-2-3-1)
Courtois – Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Rahman – Mikel, Fabregas – Willian, Hazard, Oscar – Costa.
PSG vs Chelsea : Head-to-Head
This is the third consecutive season that PSG and Chelsea are meeting in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
When they met in the last year’s round of 16, PSG knocked out Chelsea by virtue of away goal after drawing in both legs.
In the met in the 2013-14 quarter-finals, the teams shared a win a piece with Chelsea advancing to the semifinals helped by a superior away goal.
PSG vs Chelsea : Prediction
Paris Saint Germain will be aiming for the fourth consecutive quarter final appearance when they were knocked out by Barcelona on both occasions. Coach Laurent Blanc will be hoping to get the job done at their home done ahead of the away leg at Stamford Bridge in two weeks’ time.
Chelsea on the other hand is a different team under Guus Hiddink and they have done particularly well in Champions League regardless of their league form. With a fully fit squad and players performing at higher level, the Blues will be going into this game with full confidence.
PSG rarely come across an opponent of Chelsea’s quality and this will be a real test of their character. Last time when they come across a quality opponent in Real Madrid in the group stages, they drew at home and lost 1-0 away. In both matches PSG should have easily run our comfortable winner. A repeated performance as such will surely give Chelsea headache.
But the high tempo counter attacking strategy of Guus Hiddink has proved effective in recent weeks and the Blues have created a lot of clear-cut scoring chances. If their finishing don’t let them down, the match promises plenty of goals considering the attacking talents in both sides.
I can see this ending it a draw with goals scored at both ends. My Prediction is PSG 2-2 Chelsea.