Monday, February 16, 2015

Paris Saint-Germain vs Chelsea Champions League - February 17, 2015

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Paris Saint-Germain vs Chelsea FC
Competition: Champions League, 2014/2015 - Round of 16 (first leg)
Match date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Kick Off Time: 19:45 GMT
Venue:  Parc des Princes (Paris, France) 

Paris Saint-Germain did not get the momentum-building result they needed over the weekend, as they were held to a 2:2 draw with Caen after the visitors scored twice in the dying minutes of the match to come back level. Injuries to Cabaye, Lucas, Aurier, and Marquinhos marred what had been a good day, as manager Laurent Blanc’s substitutions meant they were forced to play with just 9 players at the end of the match. While it is uncertain whether any of these players can play this midweek, their presence is highly doubtful, and Blanc has admitted that it leaves his team exposed. However, they will take confidence from the fact that they conquered Chelsea 3:1 last season at the Parc des Princes, and the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva always give this side a good shot at winning on any given day. They have gone unbeaten this season in all competitions at home, winning 14 of those 18 matches (Super Cup included) with the most impressive victory coming against Barcelona (3:2) in the UCL group stage. Therefore, it seems safe to say that PSG should emerge here with their unbeaten home record still intact, though victory could frustratingly avoid their grasp.
Chelsea FC team travel to the French capital with plenty of rest after not playing in the English FA Cup this weekend after their defeat last round. That cup elimination has actually worked directly in their favor, as not only will they be better rested and better prepared, but the French champions have picked up some big injuries in their weekend match while Jose Mourinho looked on from the stands. The boss will have taken notice of their absence list and will be keen to avoid the drama of last season’s knockout round clash that saw the aggregate end 3:3 with Chelsea advancing on away goals. He would likely be ecstatic with a draw here and should ultimately play for one as the match goes on. However, they do have the ability to take a crucial advantage against the hosts, as the return of Diego Costa is a critical boon for the attack. The Spaniard watched as his compatriot Cesc Fabregas made his return from injury last time out, and Chelsea will be at near-full capacity when they travel to Paris. However, Mourinho will likely opt for more defensive tactics with respect to what Paris Saint-Germain did to them here last season, and a draw would likely be very well-received by the Portuguese and his band of marauders.

Probable lineups:
Chelsea: Courtois – Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta – Matic, Fabregas – Willian, Oscar, Hazard – Diego Costa.
Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu – van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell – Verratti, Motta, Rabiot – Cavani,  Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]


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