It’s Champions League time for the Blues once again, as the competition returns following its winter break. The Blues head to Paris for the first leg of this clash, for which they are heavy underdogs. With their league season in tatters, can they pull off an incredible result here to boost their Champions League hopes or will their awful season just go from bad to worse?
Another year, another clash against PSG in the Champions League. After knocking them out two years ago, and being knocked out by them last year, these two know each other fairly well. It might have helped matters if the manager who had come through both those ties was here now to take advantage of what he had learnt, but that’s not how it works at Chelsea.
Guus Hiddink leads his team into this clash, and they do have quite an impressive away record under him. His best results so far have come away from the Bridge, and Blues fans would love to see a repeat of the performance at the Emirates here. To do that they’d need to pull off a task that no one has managed this year, to prevent PSG from winning.
The French champions have won 17 consecutive games, stretching all the way back to December 1st. That’s seen them take charge of Ligue 1, where they now have a 24 point lead. With France already dominated, the goal for them now is to move up a level and dominate in Europe. While they’ve yet to really make a huge splash in the Champions League, they’re more than capable of it.
The French side have a team full of stars and manager Laurent Blanc recently signed a contract extension at the club. They have so much ability, just how could Chelsea possibly stop them? It would take a massive defensive display to hold this team off, is that something that this Chelsea team are capable of? Can they replicate the heroics of the 2012 side?
They have a strong defence on paper, but it’s just not worked for them this term. Branislav Ivanovic is showing signs of age, Cesar Azpilicueta has been far from his best and our most reliable centre back is now out injured. Without Kurt Zouma, Gary Cahill and John Terry will have to roll back the years here.
Hiddink did coach Chelsea to a 0-0 result in the Camp Nou before, back in 2009. That was the year that Andres Iniesta’s last minute strike knocked the Blues out on away goals. A display like that would do it here, but it’s hard to see the team being able to pull it off.
If the side could play like they did at the Emirates, we’d have a chance. The problem is, PSG are a much better side than Arsenal, and they’re tougher to shut out. This looks like a task too far for Hiddink and this could well be the Blues’ last big away European trip for some time.
LCN Verdict: PSG to win 2-0