In Friday’s draw for the UEFA Champions League quaterfinals, Chelsea were drawn against French Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), let’s take a look at how PSG have played in their season so far.
French Ligue 1
PSG currently sit at the top of the French top flight, 11 points ahead of 2nd place AS Monaco and 20 points clear of LOSC Lille before their fixtures this weekend. Through 30 domestic games, PSG have been the class of the French league, winning 22 games and losing 1 match while drawing 7. They boast an astounding goal differential of 52, their closest competitor (Monaco) only has a 25 goal differential.
In their most recent match against Lorient, Les Parisiens won in a gritty fashion in Brittany, winning 1-0 off a Thiago Motta goal in the 41st minute. As is the case, Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic was key to the victory, setting up the goal by one of his trademark backheel flicks to Motta for the Brazilians 3rd goal of the season. Throughout the match the Parisian side maintained 60% posession, and despite few chances created, looked in complete control. The win was the 8th consecutive league win for PSG, as well as a 4th consecutive clean sheet. An injury to Brazillian defender Thiago Silva marred the match. He took an elbow to the temple and appeared to be suffering from it. Losing Silva reveals the lack of any depth for the reigning league champions at Central Midfield; manager Laurent Blanc was reluctant to field former Chelsea defensive star Alex on the synthetic Lorient pitch in fear of him picking up a knee injury.
PSG are clearly in control of Ligue 1, and should expect to be repeat champions this season.
UEFA Champions League:
The French Champions were drawn into Group C of the UEFA Champions League group stage, alongside Greek side Olympiacos FC, Portuguese outfit SL Benefica, and last seasons Belgian Pro League champions RSC Anderlecht. PSG won their group, winning 4 games, drawing and losing 1 a piece, with a +11 goal differential. Olympiakos finished 2nd in the group. PSG drew Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16, whom they dispatched 6-1 on aggregate. PSG won 4-0 in Germany and 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Players to watch:
Of course the most impressive player for PSG is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and seeing his skill and pace on the same pitch as Chelsea standout Eden Hazard will be an excellent sight for the neutral fan as well as die hard supporters of both clubs. PSG also has former Chelsea CB Alex on their roster, who is fondly remembered in SW6 for his dazzling free kicks. He was exiled and ushered out under the dark days of Andre Villas-Boas reign at Stamford Bridge. Edinson Cavani also stars up front for PSG, the Uruguayan striker has had a poor season in France this year, his first in Ligue 1, but the former Napoli man was critical in nearly knocking Chelsea out of the 2012 Champions League.
The matches will take place April 2nd and 8th at the Parc des Princes and Stamford Bridge respectively.
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