Chelsea face PSG on Wednesday night as they look to book a place in the Champions League quarter finals. The two sides finished the first leg in Paris all-square, so everything is on the line in this one, and both managers will be expected to get their sides into the next round. Chelsea hold a slight advantage with their away goal, but that could be turned on its head on Wednesday night.
Just as they had in the first leg, Chelsea come in to this game with a week-long break. They played at Upton Park last Wednesday and, with no weekend game, they should be pretty fresh for the visit of the French champions. After a week which saw them lift a trophy, overcome a difficult obstacle in the league and then take a few days off, morale should be pretty high within the Blues’ camp at the moment too.
As for PSG, they had league action on Saturday before they made the trip to London. They beat Lens 4-1 at home, and moved top of Ligue 1 as a result. While that will be a boost for PSG, it won’t match up to the week of training and rest that Jose Mourinho put his men through. With an away goal, Chelsea could really just sit back early on in this game, before pushing forward and picking off the visitors later on when they have the physical advantage.
This game is a complete reversal of the quarter final meeting between the two sides last season, when Chelsea had to push for the win in the second leg. They trailed 3-1 and needed a 2-0 win, which they finally got late on. This time, the Premier League leaders know they are currently in the driving seat with their away goal, so not conceding here is key. Of course they’ll have to push forward due to the players in the team and the fact that they’re at home, but don’t expect to see the Blues going all out here.
It suits Mourinho’s team to play a patient game, as the longer this game goes the more desperate PSG will become. As long as they can keep it tight early on, there will be chances for the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the counter attack. The key will be not to get too defensive, as we saw how difficult the first leg became when PSG came roaring back after going behind, and the visitors couldn’t get out of their own half.
Nemanja Matic is back for this game, and his presence will be a big factor in winning the midfield battle. That will leave Mourinho with a decision to make at the back. Keep Gary Cahill, or play Kurt Zouma who was been fantastic in the holding midfield role of late. Whoever gets picked, they’ll have to be at the top of their game to stop the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-1 (3-2 aggregate)