Will We See A Champions League Repeat From Chelsea and PSG?
Last season, Chelsea met PSG in the quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League and narrowly squeaked by the French powerhouse.
Chelsea lost the first leg 3-1 at Parc des Princes and only made it to the semifinals thanks to Demba Ba’s last-gasp goal in the second leg at Stamford Bridge. The Blues made it to the final four at the expense of Les Parisiens 3-3 on aggregate, thanks to their one away goal.
This year, tomorrow to be exact, the two clubs will meet in UEFA Champions' League round of 16. PSG will be without at least four key players - Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos, Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura - and Chelsea could be without their midfield maestro, Cesc Fabregas.
Despite these injuries, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho does not consider his side as the favorites arguing that PSG has the same players as last year, while Chelsea have revamped their side. PSG manager Laurent Blanc has been critical of Mourinho, warning his team of Mourinho's antics while stating that he is "a genius" for losing the FA Cup game against Bradford allowing his side a full week of rest before the match.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa will return to the Chelsea attack after serving a three-game suspension for stomping on Liverpool's Emre Can as The Blues look to regain their dominant form and steal a point or even three in Paris. But will The Blues play their beautiful and at times intricate passing game or revert to Mourinho's habit of playing in a highly conservative manner in tougher matches? A defensive-minded and counter-attacking approach will most likely be used by the London-side in hopes to keep a low-scoring game and steal against the run of play.
Chelsea's lineup prediction
Goalie: Thibaut Courtois - The Belgian giant needs to regain his confidence after a shaky last performance
Defense: César Azpilicueta, John Terry, Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanović
Defensive Midfield: Nemanja Matić, Ramires
Midfield: Willian, Oscar, Eden Hazard
Striker: Diego Costa
- If the game is tied and/or Chelsea have the lead in the second half, Mourinho will most likely keep the recent-pattern of bringing on defender Gary Cahil to play as a sweeper in front of the back four. He will probably come on for Chelsea's energizer bunny, Willian, seeing the team switch to a 4-3-3 formation.
- The only chance Juan Cuadrado will make a substitution appearance for one of the attacking midfielders, probably Oscar or maybe Willian, is if Chelsea are down more than 2-0 and are lacking attacking ingenuity.
The first leg will be a tight affair as both teams will be testing eachother out and saving their best for the second leg in London. Chelsea's strong backline and midfield pairing of Matić and Ramires will quiet PSG's attack and offer little support to Chelsea's attacking four going forward. At the end, the scoreline won't be repeated as PSG are not playing their best soccer and will at times get flustered breaking down Chelsea's strong defense with their mix of new players in the lineup.
Prediction: Chelsea wins 2-1