Chelsea FC play host to French Ligue 1 leaders Paris St-Germain in the 2nd leg of their UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal Tuesday, with PSG leading 3-1 on aggregate from the first leg victory in Paris. The Blues will hope to overturn the deficit and proceed into the semifinals for the 2nd time in 3 years.
Coming off a 3-0 win against Stoke City on Saturday, the Chelsea fans must feel good coming into this match-up, especially as PSG will be without star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However PSG have Uruguayan star Edinson Cavani ready and raring to lead the line and be the focus of the French attack; El Matador must be eager to prove he is capable of banging in goals against a tough Chelsea defense.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was upbeat in his pre-match press conference Monday afternoon, telling the world that he and the players believe it can be done.
My reasons to believe? The reasons are not important, the belief is important. I believe and my players believe and that’s the most important thing. I won two finals, so the two finals are the most important good memories I have…at 7.45pm we have to be ready, with smiles on our faces, to go out and see what happens – Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager
Chelsea fans must also harbor belief, after all in the successful 2012 Champions League campaign the Blues had the exact same situation to overcome in the Round of 16.
Drawn against Napoli, the Blues had a horrible night in Naples, losing 3-1 in the first leg. The goalscorers for Napoli that evening? Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi. After sacking manager Andre Villas-Boas and replacing him with Chelsea legend Roberto Di Matteo, the Italian manager cheered on his players as they overcame the 2 goal deficit in thrilling fashion. In one of the most electric matches in Stamford Bridge history, Branislav Ivanovic scored the winner in the 105th minute, sending the Blues on to meet Benefica in the quarterfinals.
Samuel Eto’o is still not 100% match fit per manager Mourinho, but may see some action against Les Parisiens. Ramires will miss the match through suspension, he has accumulated too may yellow cards in the competition. German international Andre Schurrle will be available after a heavy collision with Stoke’s Charlie Adams at the weekend, as will Midfielder John Obi Mikel, who would provide a boost in central midfield with Nemanja Matic ineligible (He is cup-tied to Benefica). Mohamed Salah, who had his first start for Chelsea at the weekend, is also ineligible for selection, having taken part in the group stages of the competition with former club FC Basel.
Predicted Starting XI
I believe we will see Fernando Torres up front for Chelsea as the ‘false 9′ with Andre Schurrle was ineffective in the first leg. Willian had an excellent game on Saturday against Stoke, so here’s hoping he can score a goal or two against PSG.
Stamford Bridge should be electric for this match, and it is one that “The Special One” should have his players ready for. PSG will be up for the challenge, and containing Cavani and Lavezzi needs to be a priority, as any away goal early on by PSG could derail the entire match. Chelsea have that ever helpful away goal in their pocket, but still need to score 2 goals or they will be out. So, should this one 2-0, the Blues would be through on aggregate thanks to that away goal advantage but should PSG score one the Blues would need to counter with a higher scoreline than the first leg (3-1 at least to force added time). If PSG score 2? the Blues would need 5 goals to progress, and while we did put 6 in the Arsenal net last month, that could be just too much against this side.
2-0 to the Blues sounds very reasonable, doesn’t it? Surely Eden Hazard can work his magic and give the Chelsea faithful another European night to remember!
Up the Chels!