Chelsea take on PSG in the Champions League round of 16, their 3rd meeting in as many years.
In boxing known as the rubber match, both sides will be looking to advance to the quarter finals at the expense of their newly founded rivals and will know that a positive result in the first leg of the tie in Paris will leave them with one foot in the next round.
What constitutes a positive result? PSG being at home will be looking for victory, but will hope to shut out a Chelsea side that scored 5 at the weekend, even if it was against a destitute Newcastle, whereas Chelsea know a win would be exceptional but will settle for an away goal (or 2) to spice up the return leg at Stamford Bridge in March.
In 2013/2014 the two sides met in the quarter finals and a 3-1 loss in Paris was overturned with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge eliminating the Parisians so Chelsea will know that it is possible. That said the following season a 1-1 draw in Paris wasn’t enough as they conceded 2 at Stamford Bridge as the two sides drew, sending them out of the competition in the round of 16.
We spoke to former Chelsea defender and Football Fanzone’s own Jason Cundy on Chelsea’s chances in Paris and what they need to do to secure passage into the quarter finals:
I don’t have to say how tough a tie this is especially as in our 3 times being drawn with PSG, this is our worst team/worst approach to the tie. The obvious bonus is that despite our poor league showing, some of our best performances this season have come in Europe.
We topped our group scoring 13 goals and only conceding 3, but PSG pose a complete different problem to the likes of Porto, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Dynamo Kyiv.
The French champions are currently walking their league so were able to rest players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the weekend, although that somewhat backfired as they could only manage a 0-0 draw with Lille.
There seems to be chaos in the PSG camp at the minute following some insane comments from defender Serge Aurier via social media so perhaps Chelsea can take advantage of this?
Chelsea’s task will have undoubtedly been made harder by the absence of captain John Terry given his stature in the side as well as his performances in the heart of defence. A damaged tendon in his right thigh couldn’t have come at a worse time after Kurt Zouma was ruled out for 6 months last week, when he damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Manchester United.
Another player that will be missed is Nemanja Matic who is suspended following an accumulation of yellow cards, the Mikel/Matic pairing has come in for some criticism because of how defensive it is, but if there was one game where we need it, this would be it.
Chelsea can get past PSG but undoubtedly will have to get an away goal to do so, getting a clean sheet in the process would be a massive bonus but an away goal should be the target.
If Chelsea can get back to Stamford Bridge still in the tie then I fancy us to pull what would be an upset.