The Champions League is back after a two-month hiatus. We have an absolutel blockbuster to get us up and running, with Chelsea travelling to the Parc des Princes to take Paris Saint-Germain.
This fixture is a repeat of last season’s quarter-final, in which Jose Mourinho’s men pulled off a thrilling victory in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, reversing a 3-1 deficit suffered in the French capital. Both sides had lots of lessons to learn from those two games, and we expect to see another fantastic tie.
Chelsea, who topped Group G comprehensively, were not too pleased when pitted against the French champions, who finished runners-up to Barcelona in Group F. PSG have been threatening to topple a major name in the Champions League in the last couple of seasons, and will be fancying their chances against the English side. They have under-performed, according to some, taking into the consideration the amount of money that they’ve spent, and Laurent Blanc will want to silence those critics by pulling off a major upset against Chelsea.
For the Blues, it is very important both to try and get an away goal and avoid defeat in France. Last year, they were able to choreograph a stunning comeback, but Mourinho will know that that won’t happen every time. PSG are on an incredible 32-match unbeaten run at home in European competitions, and will know that anything other than a victory will be a bad result.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 16, 2015
Mourinho is, therefore, likely to go with a team to contain the French outfit for this one. Blanc is facing several injury issues, with Serge Aurier, Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos and Lucas Moura all our injured. Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore and Maxwell are also major doubts. Even without these names though, PSG have enough talent to trouble Chelsea. Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi have been the scourge in the Blues’ backline on more than one occasion in the past, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is never too far away from doing something spectacular.
There will be some interesting decisions that Mourinho will need to take. Thibaut Courtois was on the bench in the last league game against Everton, and Petr Cech put in a man-of-the-match performance. It will therefore, be interesting to see who the manager prefers. He faces a similar conundrum between Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma. While the former has the experience, it is the latter that is the better pick on current form. There is also the likelihood that John Obi Mikel starts alongside Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas in a three-man midfield. Oscar, who was rested on Thursday, is expected to play on the right in place of Willian. Diego Costa will return to the side after missing the last three league games through suspension.
The following is the possible Chelsea starting line-up vs PSG:
Mourinho will make sure his side do not make the same mistakes they did in Paris last year. After getting back level in that one, they conceded twice in the second after some wretched defending. This is a game Chelsea will look to squeeze out, by crowding out PSG in midfield. It won’t be the most entertaining encounter ever, and the Blues will come away with a score-draw.
Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Chelsea