PREMIER League leaders Chelsea lock horns with French champions PSG for the second leg of their Last 16 Champions League showdown. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the big game.
Chelsea v PSG | Wednesday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
When these two teams met three weeks ago in Paris, PSG walked away frustrated they could only claim a 1-1 draw. Thibaut Courtois was named Man of the Match as the Parisians caused Chelsea plenty of problems at the Parc des Princes. Despite taking just one shot-on-target, the Londoners escaped with an away goal and a level tie.
Is that PSG’s chance gone? Statistics would say so. Only 27% of teams who drew the first leg at home have gone through since 1970-71 in this competition and a trip to Stamford Bridge is sure to test the mettle of the French champions on Wednesday night.
Laurent Blanc’s visitors arrive without Lucas Moura and Serge Aurier but rested and rotated their key players at the weekend when thumping Lens 4-1. There’s a feeling PSG are just coming to boil and a trip across the Channel couldn’t come at a better time. But do the Parisians have the tools to take a punt on them to qualify at 38/19 (888 Sport). Quite possibly, yes. Do I have the bottle or confidence to back it? No.
Chelsea are unbeaten in Champions League competition this season and have had a week’s rest after their Capital One Cup triumph at Wembley. The tie is already in their favour and the Blues should enjoy playing on the break against a PSG side that must force the initiative the further the match goes on.
Jose Mourinho’s men have been far from their robotic selves of late (W4-D5-L1) and performances at Stamford Bridge have been fairly mediocre. Defeat to Bradford in the FA Cup has been followed by an extra-time win over Liverpool in the Captali One Cup, a dull 1-1 against Manchester City, an uninspiring 1-0 defeat of Everton and that 1-1 draw with Burnley.
There are chinks in the Chelsea armoury but their big-game mentality should come to the fore here. PSG have only lost once in nine Champions League knockout games (W4-D4-L1) but that came against the Blues in London last April. With only four home defeats in Europe’s elite competition over the past nine years, it’s advantage CFC.
But I’m not going to be put off backing Both Teams To Score at evens with BetVictor. Chelsea have netted in each of their last 18 Champions League home games but have leaked in three of their most recent four. And that’s excluding their record of keeping just two clean sheets from five in all competitions at Stamford Bridge.
PSG have to play on the front foot and will be safe in the knowledge that they managed to score in 11 of their last 12 Champions League away days as well as in 17 of their previous 19 road trips. Blanc’s men showed in Paris that they can rattle this Chelsea team and I’ve faith in the French side notching on Wednesday night.
Chelsea v PSG – Both Teams To Score (1/1 BetVictor)
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