After being beaten by Crystal Palace in the league, Chelsea will hope to stop the rot when they travel to France to face Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final on Wednesday (19:45 BST, live on Sky Sports).
PSG come into the match on the back of nine consecutive victories in all competitions, including Friday’s 1-0 win away to Nice. They are clear favourites for the Ligue 1 title, seven points clear of Monaco with 76 points from 23 wins, seven draws and one defeat.
Laurent Blanc’s team progressed to the Champions League knockout stages by winning Group C with 13 points from four wins, one draw and one defeat. They then comfortably disposed of Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16, winning 4-0 at home and 2-1 away in Germany. They will be hoping to better last season’s run to the quarter finals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is PSG’s top scorer in both Ligue 1 (25 goals) and the Champions League (10), but they have a number of other highly-talented attacking players, including Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura. They have averaged 2.29 goals per match in Ligue 1 and 2.75 per match in the Champions League.
At the other end of the pitch, Thiago Silva is rightfully regarded as one of the finest defenders in world football and is central to a defensive unit that has conceded just 0.62 goals per match across Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season. Just ahead, PSG’s midfield features a good mix of brains, brawn and energy.
Gregory Van de Wiel (knee) looks to be PSG’s only major injury doubt for this match. Thiago Silva will play with a protective mask after fracturing his left cheek-bone against Lorient a couple of weeks ago.
Chelsea travel to Paris on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Despite Jose Mourinho’s (pictured) protestations to the contrary, they are still very much in the Premier League title race, two points short of leaders Liverpool with 69 points from 21 wins, six draws and five defeats.
The Blues made it through to the Champions League knockout stages by topping Group E with 12 points from four wins and two defeats. They drew 1-1 away in Turkey in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against Galatasaray, but comfortably triumphed 2-0 in the return leg at Stamford Bridge to progress to the last eight.
Mourinho is a two-time Champions League winner and is adept at setting up his teams for knockout competition. Chelsea may occasionally struggle to break down amassed defences, as evidenced by recent league defeats to Aston Villa and, on Saturday, to Palace, but remain strong in defence and highly potent on the counter attack.
Chelsea have the best defensive record in the Premier League and have conceded just nine times in their last 21 matches in all competitions. They defend relatively deep and are well organised, keeping opponents at arm’s length. When the ball is won, the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian are proficient at breaking forward quickly and incisively.
Mourinho will be without the cup-tied pair of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah for this match, while long-term injury absentee Marco Van Ginkel (knee) also misses out. Samuel Eto’o is struggling with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to be involved.
Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea Betting Tips
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. Chelsea have won two (both at home), drawn one and lost one of their last four Champions League matches against French opposition. They are best priced at 14/1 in the outright winner Champions League betting.
PSG possess excellent players at both ends of the pitch, but their lack of competitors at domestic level and relatively easy opponents in the Champions League to date make it difficult to assess exactly how good a side they are.
Chelsea have slumped to two defeats in their last three league matches and were a little uncertain in drawing 1-1 away to Galatasaray in the first leg of their round of 16 tie. They do, however, remain a very solid side and will certainly not provide their hosts with any easy opportunities.
We expect to see a low-scoring encounter between two teams that look well matched on paper. Home advantage may be enough to see PSG emerge victorious.
- Back Paris Saint-Germain to win @ 11/10 with Ladbrokes or Boylesports.
- PSG have conceded just four goals in their last 10 matches in all competitions, while Chelsea have conceded seven over the same period. They are both solid in defence and we expect to see a relatively cautious encounter in which goals are few and far between. Back under 2.5 goals @ best odds of 4/6 with Paddy Power.