Barcelona v PSG Betting Prediction | Home Win Bet with BetfairPublished March 7, 2017
Nobody saw the first leg result of this one coming at all. We tipped a Barcelona win but for the tie to be open by the return to the Camp Nou. On paper, it certainly is not that after Paris Saint-Germain won 4-0 at the Parc des Princes, but there is something odd about counting out the Blaugrana, whatever the circumstances.
In the group stages, Barcelona beat former boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 4-0, a result which would take the tie to extra time. But the dynamics of that game were different to this one. Unai Emery’s side know what they have to do, manage this game by not being too open in defence, while City needed to attack to chase Barça down in the pursuit of top spot in their group. But with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in attack, anything is possible.
PSG exploited a player who has strangely become a weakness for Barcelona this season. Sergio Busquets has become the best defensive midfield player in the world during his career, protecting a reputably fragile defence over the last eight years, helping the club dominate Europe. This year, though, the slight change of system under the departing boss Luis Enrique, which sees the ball moved up to the strikers quicker than before, Busquets is left exposed with more space both infront and behind him. Deploying Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler, who’s pace and technique put the Ligue 1 side on the front foot, in behind was key to such a huge victory.
But so many times before have Barcelona come through adversity, even if they are not the same team as before. If they can get back to the high pressing game, doing to Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi what PSG did to Busquets, it may not be a foregone conclusion. But all of the pressure is on the home side, and they will need a stellar performance from the whole team, not just Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
But the odds on those three players scoring first are all better than usual. Messi and Suarez are at 3/1 while Neymar is at 5/1, and all could provide good value for money. We are backing Messi because he is the man who has so often set the tone in these big games, particularly at the Camp Nou. Depending on how early a goal comes for Barcelona, the door may not be 100% closed to the quarter finals, but PSG will be more than happy to hit the space which will undoubtedly open around Busquets again, especially if he performs poorly again.