Chelsea face Paris Saint Germain in their Champions League second leg looking to overturn a 3-1 deficit from their meeting in the French capital last week.
Javier Pastore’s injury time effort has given Chelsea a difficult task to make the semi-finals for a third time under Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager blasted his side’s sloppy defending after the game, but their weekend win over Stoke was their 8th consecutive clean sheet at home, so that problem shouldn’t come up again.
A 2-0 win would be enough to send the Blues through on the away goals rule, with this game very similar to the last 16 clash against Napoli in 2012, the year Chelsea won the trophy.
With six wins on the bounce at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are in great form ahead of this game, but they face a problem in the centre of midfield. John Obi Mikel is out with an injury, while Ramires is suspended and Nemanja Matic is cup-tied. It’s likely that David Luiz and Frank Lampard will be Mourino’s only two options in central midfield in this game.
The Blues are also without striker Samuel Eto’o, so Fernando Torres is likely to retain his position as the lone striker. Eden Hazard and Oscar were both left out of the starting line up against Stoke, so they should be in great condition for this game. Oscar, however, could find himself on the bench again, given his patchy recent form and the superb displays from Willian and Mohammed Salah at the weekend.
Chelsea’s defence will remain unchanged as usual, despite Mourinho’s complaints about their defending last week. Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have started the last ten games, with that consistency helping to build a solid defensive unit.
As for PSG, they’ll likely be missing their star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after he went off injured in the first leg. The French side will probably move Edinson Cavani in to the middle, and will still have enough attacking talent to worry Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho is looking forward to the game, but he’s aware of just difficult their task is. “We can approach the match against Paris with a smile. It’s what we need for such a difficult match and such an almost impossible job to do. I think the best way to try to do it is to have a smile and go at them.”
Mourinho added: “I want to enjoy that game. I enjoy the difficulty.
“Now we know that we need to win 2-0, 3-1, 4-1, 5-2. We know that we need a crazy result against Paris.
“We must be ready to go without fear, go at them and no problems and see what happens.
“If we have to lose to lose after a magnificent night of football, a magnificent night of emotion, if we have to lose.”
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0 and qualify on away goals