The Champions League returns tonight as the knockout stages get underway following an extended spell off of our television screens. In one of the night’s two crucial ties, Chelsea travel to Paris to take on PSG, a side out for revenge following last year’s events.
Chelsea progressed at the expense of the Parisians, with Demba Ba striking late to help the Blues through on away goals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the returning David Luiz will need no added motivation to try and thwart Jose Mourinho’s attempts to lift a third European title in one of the game’s of the round. Here are three things to look out for in tonight’s encounter!
Players keen to impress former allies
The return of David Luiz to our screens will turn out to be a welcome one as he aims to prevent his former side from qualifying for the next round. There is no doubt that the Brazilian will be fired up for this one, and having seen his performances at the World Cup it is anyone’s guess what he’ll do! His reputation for spectacular football masks the overly aggressive nature to his defending, and Jose Mourinho will be have been banging on about his susceptibility to his players throughout the night.
As for the Portuguese manager, he’ll also have his eye on former colleagues Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Motta, both of whom he worked with at Inter Milan. The Swede and Mourinho have a smooth relationship which will no doubt intensify in the heat of battle tonight, whilst the touchline could also become a cauldron. Laurent Blanc worked with Mourinho at Barcelona in 1996 and won’t want to become the victim of his mind games.
Home advantage to be a crucial factor
Statistics back PSG to get a positive result tonight, whereas Chelsea have struggled on their trips across the Channel. Unbeaten in their last 32 home games in UEFA competition, PSG have not lost in the French capital since 2006, even getting the better of Barcelona twice in recent years. Compared to Chelsea, who have won just once in six jaunts to France, it won’t come as welcome news to Blues fans. On top of that, PSG haven’t lost at home this season and are unbeaten in their last 11. Anything but defeat wouldn’t be a bad result for Chelsea.
Brazilian flair and goals!
David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos (doubt), Filipe Luis, Oscar and Ramires could all feature in Paris tonight, adding an element of Brazilian style to proceedings. Whilst the country may be reeling from the horror show at the World Cup, there’s only one way the South Americans play their football – and when it is on point it is beautiful to watch!
Adding to the spectacle could be goals! Chelsea are the tournament’s top scorers this season, thrashing Schalke 5-0, Maribor 6-0 and Sporting 3-1 en route to the knockout stages. They outscored PSG by seven goals, but the French side boast one of the tournament’s leading scorers – no, not him – Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan has five goals so far and has scored in four of his six games this season. Alongside Zlatan and Ezequiel Lavezzi, they are a potent force going forwards!