Chelsea head in to their Champions League quarter final against PSG looking to erase memories of their defeat at the weekend. Their 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace delivered a possible knock-out blow to their title hopes, and could leave morale low before their trip to France.
The hosts are slight favourites going in to this one, but despite Chelsea’s poor away record of late they’re not to be ruled out. The Blues have performed better in the big games, and with Jose Mourinho at the helm they’ve got a manager capable of changing a game with a well-worked game plan.
There is already guaranteed to be an edge to this game, due to off the pitch incidents. PSG are reportedly making moves for Oscar and Eden Hazard among other Blues stars. Mourinho has already slapped a £300million asking price on the two playmakers, while PSG seem to be trying to turn the players’ heads with players coming out and talking up the transfers. This is sure to add a fascinating subplot to the game and it will be interesting to see how the pair perform.
Despite that, both players remain committed to the club and Hazard has been talking about just how they need to go about their meeting with the Parisians. The Belgian compared them to Arsenal, saying, “PSG are a bit like Arsenal – they like to dictate the play and if we’re ready, if we close them down and go for their throats straight away, things will become a bit more difficult for them.”
A 6-0 mauling along the lines of the Arsenal game may be unlikely, but Hazard is clearly up for this match, arguably his biggest since he joined the club. Mourinho may not want to attack PSG quite like the Belgian does, but this should be a good contest between two well matched sides.
PSG come in to this game having won nine games on the trot, and they’re likely to go out and try to make a statement against Chelsea on Wednesday. Having beaten Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 on aggregate, and pushing Barcelona all the way in last season’s quarter finals, PSG are showing a lot in Europe but they need one big result to show they’ve really arrived.
With both sides having an array of talent, you feel that the difference could well come from the touchline. Mourinho will be up against former France boss Laurent Blanc, a man who was well down PSG’s wish list after ex Blue Carlo Ancelotti left last summer.
Mourinho will enjoy a battle like this, especially as he looks to win the one trophy that escaped him in his first spell at the Bridge. Blanc’s last role saw his side fail to make their mark on Euro 2012, and with Mourinho’s big game pedigree the tactical battle could just win this tie.
LCN Verdict: 2-2 draw