This will be the third straight season that Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have met in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, with it currently standing at one win apiece in terms of progress. On both occasions away goals have proved the deciding factor, with Chelsea progressing at the quarter-final stage in 2013/14 and PSG prevailing from the Last 16 last season, with both ties finishing 3-3 on aggregate.
French champions for the last three seasons, it was always fairly certain that PSG would retain their title this term too giving the quality of their squad and their huge financial backing. Even so, the level to which they have dominated Ligue 1 this season is still fairly astonishing, with PSG currently standing 24-points clear of the trailing pack and having won 22 of their 25 league games to date, with the other three being draws.
That level of domestic dominance doesn’t always translate too well to the Champions League when it comes to facing tougher opposition, with teams sometimes struggling to adapt when facing more competitive fixtures. PSG did only finish second in their Champions League group, although they were widely deemed to have been unfortunate to have only taken a point from their two games against Group A winners Real Madrid.
If it’s all gone largely according to plan for PSG this season, that certainly can’t be said of Chelsea. The defence of their Premier League title was over almost before the season had hit it’s stride and the performances of several of last season’s key players in the opening half of the campaign under Jose Mourinho were embarrassingly lacking in commitment.
Chelsea did top their qualifying group, albeit somewhat unconvincingly, but then being drawn to play PSG was hardly the reward they would have wanted. Things have picked up since Guus Hiddink replaced Mourinho but, despite still being unbeaten under the Dutchman, the majority of their Premier League games have ended as draws with the emphasis seemingly being on avoiding defeat, rather than winning matches.
Hiddink is unlikely to change tactics away to one of the best teams in Europe at present and with Chelsea almost certain to deploy a lone striker, chances are likely to be few and far between against a defence that has been rock solid this season. In their six Champions League games, PSG conceded just a single goal. In 25 Ligue 1 matches, they’ve only had to pick the ball up out of their own net on a dozen occasions.