Venue: Parc des Princes
Kick-off: 19:45 (BST), 11:45 AM Pacific
TV Schedule: Fox Sports 1 USA, Sky Sports 1 HD
Paris Saint-Germain welcome Chelsea to the Parc des Princes in the Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday night, in what should be a spectacle between two star studded teams.
Paris Saint-Germain are currently the runaway leaders in Ligue 1 and it is just a matter of time before the French side are once again crowned domestic champions. However, it is undoubtedly the Champions League where the Qatar Investment Authority want their heavy investment over the last few years, to bear fruit.
Laurent Blanc’s side have enjoyed a very comfortable season so far, but probably face their toughest test yet when they square off against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side. Despite the luxury of stars Blanc possesses at his disposal, a game against the wily Mourinho in the Champions League is always bound to be tricky and PSG will certainly have to be on the top of their game to claim victory in the 1st leg of the tie.
Chelsea stuttered in their hopes of winning the Premier League title in the weekend with a disappointing loss against Crystal Palace but Mourinho’s men cannot dwell on the defeat too much and shift their attention quickly to the enormous task at hand against PSG.
Without question, the Blues have to put-in a better display against the mighty PSG side but given Mourinho’s experience in the competition, one can be sure that Chelsea will do a professional job to negate the threat posed by the French side.
Laurent Blanc will be able to field his full strength side on Wednesday night. Salvatore Sirigu will start in goals for the Parisians and the Italian custodian will be shielded by a back-four most likely consisting of Christophe Jallet, Lucas Digne, Thiago Silva and Alex while the likes of Marquinhos, Maxwell and Gregory Van Der Wiel will also be pushing for a start.
The midfield trio of Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta will probably start but Yohan Cabaye, Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot are also in contention.
PSG’s deadly three-pronged attack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani will start in attack which means that Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez will have to be content with a place on the bench.
Chelsea will be without the services of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah for the clash as both of them are cup-tied in the Champions League while Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o look set to miss out due to injuries.
Petr Cech will start in goal while the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta will form a solid back-four.
Mourinho will look to go two holding men in midfield to negate the threat posed by PSG which means that Ramires and Frank Lampard will most probably start but the likes of David Luiz and John Obi Mikel provide good options as well.
Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian look set to provide the creative spark for the Blues with Fernando Torres leading the line in the absence of Eto’o.
Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu; Digne, Alex, Silva, Jallet; Lavezzi, Matuidi, Verratti, Motta, Cavani; Ibrahimovic
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic; ; Hazard, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Willian; Torres
Paris Saint-Germain: W W W W W
Chelsea: W L W W L
With all the attacking talent in PSG’s disposal, the French side certainly head into the clash as favourites. However, that being said, Chelsea’s defence has proven that they are good enough to shut out even the best of attacks.
The French side are in a fine run of form but given the strength of Ligue 1, one would not expect anything else. Chelsea will certainly pose a more difficult challenge for PSG than they have been accustomed to this season.
On paper there are very few teams which can match PSG but up against the tactical genius that is Mourinho, only attacking prowess will not do the trick for Blanc’s side.
Chelsea have a very strong defence and they will certainly be put to the test against the likes of Ibrahimovic and co. The Blues’ attacking threat cannot be undermined as well, as in Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian, Chelsea can cause damage on the break.
The two teams seem well matched and it certainly has the makings of a classic Champions League tie. Due to the fact that they are at home, PSG need a win while Chelsea will surely be happy with a score draw or an away goal at least.
The PSG attack should be able breach the Chelsea backline but the Blues might just grab a crucial away goal. PSG to win but Chelsea will take back an all important away goal to Stamford Bridge.
Paris Saint-Germain 2 -1 Chelsea