CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at Tuesday’s bumper Champions League clash between PSG and Barcelona.
PSG v Barcelona | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport 1
It’s without doubt the headline act of the Champions League Last 16 as this century’s top team take on French champions PSG in a superb double header.
PSG must be kicking themselves to be up against the might of Barcelona after falling over the line in their group at the end of last year. One point clear going into the final group game, the French side failed to swat away Ludogorets at the Parc Des Princes and saw Arsenal come up the rail to take the top spot.
When the draw was made the following week it was a bitter pill to swallow; but in fairness Arsenal hardly emerged from the day with an easy route to the Quarter-Finals themselves.
PSG look in finer shape since that poor night against Ludogorets. Manager Unai Emery has some feet time under the desk now and results have improved after a run of four league defeats before Christmas.
It’s 11 wins from their last 12 matches since a few days before Christmas and their only slip up was a home draw against a Monaco side who have been the side in France this campaign.
Indeed, at home is where PSG have excelled and it’s 11 months since they’ve tasted defeat on their Parisian soil. This though is their firmest test yet as Barcelona come to town.
Despite a fairly tough group involving Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach there was no hassle for the Spanish champions as they picked up 15 points out of 18 earlier in the Champions League.
They knocked out PSG in 2013 and 2015 in this competition and won in Paris on the latter of those years. Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic bolstering PSG ranks back then, this side feels weaker than the 2015 version.
Barcelona themselves hardly feel as dynamic as earlier in the decade themselves though and Luis Enrique’s side have failed to win eight of their 22 La Liga matches this season. At this point last year it was just five.
Having said that, PSG boss Unai Emery has a poor record against Barcelona and it could be another awkward night here for the ex-Sevilla manager.
Taking the view that PSG aren’t reaching the levels they were last season I’m willing to back a narrow Barcelona win here and the 3/1 on a one goal victory makes real appeal. PSG have almost gone a year unbeaten at home so they’re sure to make it tough as hell for the Catalans.
PSG v Barcelona – Barcelona to win by one goal (3/1 Bet365)