Chelsea head to Paris on Tuesday night as they get their Champions League campaign back under way. After a few months off, Europe’s top competition returns with a host of great ties, with this one chief among them. After two brilliant encounters in last season’s quarter final, expect another exciting tie here.
The Blues, of course, had the weekend off after their FA Cup elimination in the last round, which gave them almost a week’s rest before this game. That should hopefully play a factor, with close to a fully fit squad to call on. Oscar and John Obi Mikel are the only doubts at the minute, but they could return for the game.
Oscar was unlikely to feature, as Mourinho seems to prefer two holding midfielders in games like this. Mikel would have taken up a role beside Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, to give the visitors a more secure base as they look to shut down space for PSG’s array of attacking talent. Should Mikel be out, it’s likely Ramires will take up his place in midfield. The other big team news is the return of Diego Costa, whose ban has ended, although it didn’t stop him playing in European games anyway.
As for PSG, the French champions didn’t have the weekend off, but they did manage to fall asleep towards the end of their game against Caen. They were 2-0 up and cruising, close to moving top of Ligue 1 and they even tweeted that they were parking the bus late on, with a nod to Jose Mourinho. In the last few minutes, that bus broke down. They conceded twice and fell to a 2-2 draw, which has kept them sitting third in the league.
To add injury to insult, they’re now without at least four first team players for this game, possibly more. Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos, Serge Aurier and Lucas all came off against Caen, and they’re out for the game on Tuesday. Javier Pastore and Blaise Matuidi are both doubt for this game as well. That seems to make Chelsea favourites here, especially if you listen to PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
The former France boss said, “If someone had told me this story, I would not have believed it. We will play bravely but there are not many solutions, with four or five injured. It’s an extraordinary challenge.”
One man who will be fit is David Luiz, and the Blues players will surely be looking forward to seeing the Brazilian again after his £50million move to France in the summer. But before that can happen, there’s a game to be won. Knowing Luiz like they do, the Chelsea players will surely have a few tips for Costa against the error-prone defender. An away goal would be great, while the French side’s injury list means the Blues could well get themselves at least daw here.
LCN Verdict: 2-2 draw