Considering the rough patch they were going through, Chelsea did well to score an away goal at Parc des Princes and 2-1 defeat in the first leg gives them reason for optimism ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge. But, the Blues still need to beat one of Europe’s in-form sides that are able to fully focus on the European campaign having all but secured yet another league trophy.
This has clearly been one of the most difficult seasons in years for the Stamford Bridge outfit, but club’s brave decision to sack fans’ favourite Jose Mourinho may have just salvaged their campaign. Once again, Guus Hiddink has done brilliantly after taking over the reigns, helping the players restore the lost confidence, which had been the main issue in the first part of the season. The results soon improved as well, with the Blues even reviving their top 4 bid in the Premiership, although they will probably miss out on the final Champions League berth. Nevertheless, this means that Chelsea can focus on the final stages of the Europe’s elite competition and the FA Cup, and they are in a good position after the 2-1 loss at Parc des Princes. But, it is clear that the absence of John Terry and Kurt Zouma could prove decisive seeing that the Blues have conceded in each of their last seven games, and they cannot really be trusted to outscore red-hot Paris Saint-Germain. And having also negotiated a difficult match against Stoke at the weekend, tired legs may prove to be a problem as well.
Guus Hiddink has confirmed that John Terry is not yet ready to return, meaning Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill will continue in the heart of defence.
Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa should be recalled to the side, but Pedro Rodriguez is unlikely to feature due to a hamstring injury.
Paris Saint-Germain have been setting standards on domestic stage for several years now, while showing a great deal of promise in Europe as well. But, having been eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals three times in a row, the Saints are determined to launch an assault on the coveted title this season. They appear to be in a very good position to do so as 23-point advantage at the Ligue 1 summit means Laurent Blanc can field second-string sides ahead of each CL fixture, just like he did at the weekend, and that is likely to give his side an edge over Chelsea. With the likes of Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Di Maria in the side, PSG have the attacking potential to seriously hurt the opposition defenders and they only face some problems in the centre of the park at the moment. Namely, key midfielders Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi are not fully fit having just recovered from injury, but the likes of Stambouli and Rabiot are ready to deputize if needed, and it is the strength in depth that could prove another advantage over the Blues.
Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi have been included in the squad, but it remains to be seen whether they will be fit enough to start.
Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore had earlier returned into action, while Serge Aurier remains outside of the squad after he was suspended by the club.
Key Factors to Consider
- Chelsea won just one of last eight matches vs PSG (D5 L2)
- Both teams scored in each of last four meetings
- PSG won the same tie in last year’s competition after extra time
- Chelsea won all three home games in group stage
- PSG have eight wins in last nine away fixtures on all fronts
Even in-form Chelsea would face problems against red-hot Paris Saint-Germain, and given all the problems the Blues have at the moment, we cannot see them overturning the one-goal deficit. The Saints are incredibly motivated to reach the final stages and we are backing them to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Verdict: PSG Draw no bet
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: William Hill