Champions League betting: Back a low-scoring game when Chelsea host Paris Saint-GermainPublished March 9, 2016
A 2-1 win in the French capital for Paris Saint-Germain leaves this tie finely poised ahead of the 2nd leg in London on Wednesday night.
When the draw was made, few would have fancied Chelsea’s hopes against a PSG team that has impressed both at home and in the Champions League this season. However, since Jose Mourinho’s departure from Stamford Bridge, the 2-1 loss at the Parc de Princes is Chelsea’s only defeat in 17 matches.
With the Ligue 1 title being all but mathematically secured for at least a couple of months now, PSG coach Laurent Blanc has had the luxury of being able to rest key players domestically as and when he sees fit. That, along with the players knowing that they are already assured of being crowned French champions again, brings its own problems though, with it sometimes being difficult for players to raise their game when it’s really necessary.
In the last 10 days, PSG have lost their unbeaten Ligue 1 record this season in going down 2-1 at Lyon, then could only muster a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Montpellier on Saturday.
There is a possibility that John Terry could feature for Chelsea after three weeks out, but Kurt Zouma is a long-term absentee and there are doubts surrounding Eden Hazard, Pedro and Kenedy.
Ivory Coast right-back Serge Aurier was recently suspended by PSG for comments he made about Blanc and several team-mates and there are injury concerns over midfielders Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore. For all their wealth, the PSG squad isn’t the deepest in terms of experience, so they can ill-afford too many absentees.
PSG are looking to reach the Champions League quarter-final stage for a fourth season in succession, although that’s as far as they’ve gone each time. Last season they secured their passage to the last eight by eliminating Chelsea in the last 16 on away goals after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate. In 2014 it was Chelsea who had prevailed on away goals in the quarter-finals after another 3-3 aggregate tie with the French champions. It could be equally close this year.
In seven Champions League games this season, the PSG defence has only given up two goals. In Ligue 1, they’ve only conceded 15 goals in 28 matches. If Chelsea are to prevail in 90 minutes, it’s probably going to need them to keep a clean sheet as they seem unlikely to get many opportunities to score.