French champions Paris Saint Germain travel to Stamford Bridge for the second time in two years, looking to get the better of the Blues and make the Champions League quarter-finals.
Chelsea triumphed on away goals last season in a scintillating battle at the Bridge. Demba Ba’s late goal put Chelsea through as Jose Mourinho’s side won 2-0 on the night to progress 3-3 on aggregate.
These two sides drew 1-1 in Paris three weeks ago, setting up the tie nicely ahead of tomorrow’s second leg. Here are three reason why Zlatan and PSG can get revenge.
They have more big game experience
PSG choked last season, losing 2-0 in a game they had in a promising position. The memories of that night will continue to haunt some of the players and provide added motivation to go out and do the business. That mentality worked against Barcelona in the group stages this year, having suffered knockout pain to the Catalans a year earlier. A 3-2 win was well deserved and proof the Parisiens can come back stronger.
The likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos, Gregory van der Wiel and Javier Pastore are all relative newbies to Champions League football in the latter stages, and each will have gained from last season. This is a side made up of very, very good players, and their time in Europe has to come at some point.
The Uruguayan has been a goal machine in Europe this season, scoring six in seven games so far. His strike in the first leg proved that he’s PSG’s main goalscoring threat, and Chelsea were stupid to leave him alone in the box. Zlatan’s hold-up play is decent at times which allows his strike partner space to strike at goal. The frontman will prey on the weaker Gary Cahill or Kurt Zouma rather than John Terry, and try to get a header in when they’re not looking. The service provided from the midfield and Lavezzi will be crucial because Cavani only needs one chance.
Attacking prowess in abundance!
The rise of Cavani in a team where he is not an automatic starter speaks volumes for the strength of PSG. The side obviously revolves around the imperious Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a man who has a reputation for performing on the big occasion. Lavezzi will play on the wing in a 4-3-3 system with either Javier Pastore or Cavani being preferred on the other flank. Pastore is an absolute machine and will make plenty of difference if he starts. His stamina is unbeatable and the man can press like an Atletico Madrid’s rabid pet dog! Look out for the deeper positions he takes up because he’ll get everywhere!
Deeper in midfield, PSG have Matuidi and Verratti, both comfortable going forwards, plus David Luiz. The former Blue can certainly hit a strike from distance, but he also provides a physical edge to proceedings. Van der Wiel will get forwards powerfully and Thiago Silva is a threat from corners, giving almost every player their own goalscoring threat! Chelsea will need to be on their guard, especially if Nemanja Matic is not fit to play.