Saturday, August 19, 2017

Prediction: Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

The Spanish champions will need to pull of the greatest ever comeback in the history of the Champions League if they are to surpass their French counterparts and progress to the quarterfinals of the elite club competition.

Barcelona

Not many people would have expected to see Barcelona get hammered 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of this high-profile Champions League matchup. Still, the reigning Spanish champions were outplayed in every aspect of the game and were given a quick run for their money at the Parc des Princes. The Catalans have endured mixed fortunes this season and even though his team is still in the running for major trophies, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has announced that he will be leaving his post at the end of the season. The Spanish tactician wants to leave with the bang and is expected to roll out a full-attack side at Camp Nou in order to make good on Barcelona’s miniscule hopes. Enrique will not deviate from his preferred 4-3-3 formation with Luis Suarez, Leo Messi and Neymar leading the line in attack and the famous MSN trio is expected to lead the team forward and continue the fine form which saw these three either score or assist the majority of their team’s 11 goals in last two matches.

Team News

Injured Andre Gomes is racing against time to be fit to feature in the return leg, but the chances are midfielder will surrender his place in the team to Andres Iniesta, who could start the match.

Defenders Jeremy Mathieu and Aleix Vidal are both suffering from ankle injuries and will not be able to help their team in this undertaking.

Paris Saint-Germain

Former Sevilla boss Unai Emery has hit the rocky start upon the beginning of his life in Paris, but the trophy-laden tactician was quick to gain ground with Les Parisiens and is currently enjoying the fruits of his labour. Early defeat to high-flying Monaco in the Ligue 1 and a couple of unexpected draws left PSG trailing the Principality club by three points in the home front, whereas their current run in the Champions League is a highly positive one. Despite finishing second to Arsenal in the group stages of the Champions League, the Frenchmen have put in a superb display against Barcelona in the first leg which was in a way surprising, but no eyebrows should have been raised given the sheer quality of the French champions. Unai Emery was brought to bring European glory to Paris and after compelling 4-0 from the first leg he might just be one step closer to fulfilling the task. Getting to the quarterfinals will not be easy since Barcelona are extremely dangerous and possibly one of the rare sides that are quite capable of overturning the four-goal deficit. With the right approach, however, PSG can be the first ones to cross the finish line.

Team News

Unai Emery will be pleased with the fact he is presented a clean bill of health for the return leg.

Thiago Motta and Adrien Rabiot are the two doubts for Barcelona test due to injury, whereas the availability of Angel Di Maria has also been questioned. Still the Argentine should be available from the start.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona scored 11 goals in their last two matches
  • PSG kept clean sheets in five of their last six games in all competitions
  • French champions are unbeaten since December 2016
  • Over 3.5 goals were scored in 4 of the last 5 meetings between two sides
  • Les Parisiens won their last nine away games across competitions

Conclusion

Numbers will count to almost nothing when two sides meet at Camp Nou in what promises to be a sizzling match. Barcelona are under pressure and have no time to wait so we should expect an openly-contested affair with plenty of goal chances and, hopefully, goals.

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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