It's a huge night of Champions League football on Tuesday as Chelsea travel to PSG.
PSG were held to a draw at the weekend as they rotated their squad ahead of this game but they did extend their unbeaten streak in Ligue 1 to 35 matches. There are no injuries worries for Laurent Blanc so we should see their strongest side start this game and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in superb form the Parisians are looking formidable in both attack and defence.
The PSG defence was beaten only once in the group stage, at the Bernabeu, and in their last 37 European home matches only Barcelona have managed to beat them. Furthermore, since being knocked out by Barca last season PSG’s record in all competitions, home or away, is a stunning W40-D5-L1. These teams have met in the knockout stages in the last two seasons of course, with PSG winning 3-1 here two years ago and last year’s match in France finishing 1-1.
Chelsea’s form cannot compete with PSG’s but they did get a morale boosting 5-1 win at the weekend. However, Newcastle’s defence couldn’t have made things much easier for them and it’s probably not a result or performance that we should read too much into. After all when they thrashed Sunderland in December they then drew the next game at home to Watford and after a 5-1 win over MK Dons a couple of weeks ago the Blues proceeded to draw again, this time away at Watford. They’re certainly unlikely to receive as many presents in Paris as the Magpies gave them and they’ve won only one of the last 11 European away matches against teams graded higher in our rankings.
The away side in the first leg of Champions League Last 16 ties is typically the better side as it means they were a group winner while the home side progressed as a runner-up. However, that is certainly not the case here and in the 21 Last 16 first legs since 2004/05 where the home side was higher in our gradings they’ve gone W11-D6-L4. Furthermore, there have been just two ties in that time where we’ve had the grading difference bigger than it is here.
Zlatan has 28 goals in his last 29 appearances for club and country and with Kurt Zouma injured and John Terry limping off at the weekend the big Swede will hope to exploit any weakness in the heart of Chelsea’s defence. His scoring record in the knockout stages is notoriously poor for such a decorated player, with just seven goals in 36 games, but his overall record for PSG is better than at any of his previous clubs and he’s scored 17 Champions League goals in 29 appearances for the French champions. Given PSG are strong favourites he looks decent value to improve his record here at odds against. In fact in the 18 UCL matches he’s played for PSG where we’ve had them as the higher graded team he’s scored 15 goals – scoring in 10 different matches.
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