Chelsea have a two-goal deficit to overcome when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (19:45 BST, live on ITV).
Chelsea were the architects of their own downfall in Paris, with defensive errors leading to each of PSG’s goals. The first half was fairly even but the home side had the better of the second, pulling two goals clear. An away goal was Chelsea’s sole positive from the match.
It has been a difficult few weeks for the Blues, who have lost three of their last six matches in all competitions. They did, however, record a strong 3-0 victory at home to Stoke on Saturday and are still very much in the Premier League title race, with 72 points from 22 wins, six draws and five defeats.
Jose Mourinho’s side progressed to the Champions League knockout stages by topping Group E ahead of Schalke, with 12 points from four wins and two defeats. They then overcame Galatasaray 3-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, recording a comfortable 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge after drawing 1-1 away in Istanbul.
Mourinho complained that he lacks quality striking options in the wake of the first leg defeat to PSG and suggested the club will bring in a top-line striker this summer. While his side are a potent threat on the counter attack, they have struggled to break down defensively-aligned teams, as seen in recent 1-0 defeats away to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
The defensive errors of the first leg were an anomaly in a season in which defending has been Chelsea’s primary strength. It was only the second time in their last 23 matches in all competitions that they have conceded more than once and only the second time this season they have conceded three or more. Mourinho will hope for more solidity at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will definitely be without the injured Marco Van Ginkel (knee) for this match, while Jon Obi Mikel (unknown) and Samuel Eto’o (hamstring) are both doubtful. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied, while Ramires is suspended.
PSG come into this match on 11 consecutive victories in all competitions, including a comfortable 3-0 win over Reims on Saturday. They have a commanding 16-point lead in Ligue 1, with 79 points from 24 wins, seven draws and one defeat.
Laurent Blanc’s side made it through to the last eight of the Champions League by topping Group C with 13 points from four wins, one draw and one defeat, before comfortably dispatching Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 on aggregate in the round of 16. They reached the quarter finals last year and are well placed to better that this time around.
PSG were solid without being overly impressive in the first leg, but had sufficient quality, in bursts, to emerge victorious. Alex and Thiago Silva were strong in the centre of defence, the midfield trio performed well and Ezequiel Lavezzi was a constant menace in attack. Their lowlights were the concession of an away goal and an injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic was, however, given a poor 3/10 rating by L’Equipe for his performance in the first leg and his absence will give Blanc license to add more pace to the attack in the form of quick and direct Brazilian winger Lucas Moura. With Edinson Cavani (pictured above) through the centre and Lavezzi and Moura wide, PSG will give Chelsea plenty to worry about on the counter-attack.
Blanc will be without the aforementioned Ibrahimovic (hamstring) for the trip to Stamford Bridge, but otherwise has a full squad to pick from.
Chelsea vs PSG Betting Tips Conclusion
These two teams met in the group stage of the 2004-05 Champions League with Chelsea winning 3-0 away in Paris, while the match at Stamford Bridge ended in a 0-0 draw. Prior to the first leg, Chelsea had won two (both at home), drawn one and lost one of their previous four Champions League matches against French opposition.
Throughout the season, Chelsea have struggled to score against teams whose primary strategy is to defend in numbers. PSG have a two goal advantage and some excellent defenders and will be content to sit back and challenge Chelsea to break them down.
The Chelsea defence really struggled to deal with Lavezzi in the first leg, while Cavani, released from the defensive responsibilities concomitant with his usual position on the right flank, will constantly look for opportunities to break in behind. PSG have the players to play an effective counter-attacking game and that should be enough to see them through.
- Back Paris Saint-Germain +1 on the Asian Handicap @ best odds of 5/8 with BetVictor. The bet pays out if they win or draw, while your stake is returned if they lose by a single goal
- PSG will look to hold firm in the early exchanges, hoping to frustrate Chelsea and then take advantage as they commit increasing numbers of men forward. We expect to see a cagey first half that opens up a little after the interval. Back the second half to be the highest scoring half @ best odds of 11/10 with Ladbrokes.