Chelsea can progress to the last eight of the Champions League when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their round of 16 tie on Wednesday (19:45 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg in Paris, with Branislav Ivanovic (pictured) opening the scoring for Chelsea before Edinson Cavani equalised for PSG in the second half. The result means that a goalless draw in London would be sufficient for the Blues to go through.
Chelsea come into the return leg on the back of a full week’s rest following their 1-0 win away to West Ham last Wednesday. They head the Premier League table, five points ahead of Manchester City in second, with 63 points from 19 wins, six draws and five defeats.
Jose Mourinho’s side were slightly fortunate to emerge victorious from a fiercely contested London derby at West Ham. Eden Hazard’s first-half goal was the difference between the teams in an encounter in which the home side had slightly the better of the chances. Thibaut Courtois made some important saves to keep his second consecutive clean sheet.
The victory came just a few days after Chelsea had won their first silverware of the season with a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup final. Their performances have been a little more inconsistent since the turn of the year but they have still lost just one of their last 13 matches in all competitions and seem well on course for the Premier League title.
The Blues reached the last 16 of the Champions League by topping Group G ahead of Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. They were eliminated by Atletico Madrid at the semi-final stage of last year’s competition but have been strengthened by the arrival of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, among others, and will hope to go one better this time around.
Mourinho is without the injured Jon Obi Mikel (knee) for this Champions League match. Nemanja Matic (ankle) is expected to feature after returning to training on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain travel to London on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run (consisting of 10 victories and four draws) in all competitions They are second in the Ligue 1 table, with 56 points from 15 wins, 11 draws and two defeats.
Laurent Blanc’s side recorded a comfortable 4-1 win at home to lowly Lens on Saturday. They created plenty of chances but were a little wasteful in front of goal despite eventually scoring four times through strikes from David Luiz, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Blaise Matuidi and Javier Pastore. Slack defending gifted Lens an eventually meaningless goal at 2-0.
It has been a strange season for PSG, with stories of dressing room unrest and some lacklustre performances putting Blanc’s position in threat despite the fact that they are solidly placed in the Ligue 1 title race and made it through to the Champions League knockout stages by finishing second in Group B, behind Barcelona but ahead of Ajax and APOEL.
The problem is that his side quite often perform worse that their sum of their expensively assembled parts, relying on moments of individual quality, instead of a clear and structured game-plan, to take them to victory. They have reached the quarter-final in each of their last two European campaigns and an earlier exit this time around would be viewed as a failure.
Blanc is unable to call upon the injured Lucas Moura (hip) and Serge Aurier (thigh) for this game, while Yohan Cabaye (groin) is doubtful.
Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain Betting Tips
Chelsea eliminated PSG on the away goals rule in last year’s quarter-final, coming back from a 3-1 defeat in Paris to record a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge and make it through to the last four. They had previously met during the group stage of the 2004/05 competition, with Chelsea winning 3-0 in Paris, while the match in London ended in a 0-0 draw.
Mourinho will be looking forward to this encounter, as it is the sort of situation in which he thrives. His side can afford to sit deep and allow PSG to come onto them, safe in the knowledge that they will go through even if the match ends 0-0. But with some good options on the counter-attack, they will also be fairly confident of scoring.
It will be a highly difficult task for PSG, who wilted in the midst of far more favourable conditions during last year’s quarter-final, second leg in London. Their 3-2 win over Barcelona during the group stage showed what they are capable of at their best and they will have to perform at a similar level if they are to progress to the last eight.
Chelsea have had more rest and preparation time ahead of the fixture and appear well placed to go through on the back of a narrow victory.
- Back Chelsea to win @ evens with Bet365, Betfred, William Hill or Betfair Sportsbook.
- Chelsea will be keen to keep things tight in the early exchanges, while PSG’s desire to push forward in search of the goal they have to score if they are to remain in the competition is likely to increase as the match goes on. Back the second half to be the highest scoring half @ best odds of 7/4 with William Hill.