Wednesday night sees Paris Saint-Germain take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 battle. The game is balanced on a knife edge, with the French side holding a slender 2-1 lead after the first game at the Parc des Princes.
John Obi Mikel was the unlikely source to score Chelsea’s away goal, and it could be the crucial factor to the London club progressing to the quarter-finals. One of the biggest worries for PSG going into the second-leg is their midfield and Laurent Blanc will be made to sweat before Wednesday’s kick-off.
Both Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi are injury doubts for the game and without them, the Parisian midfield will start the game considerably weaker and will throw into question their place as favourites to reach the next round.
PSG were held to a goalless draw at home against Montpellier on Saturday, with the Ligue 1 champions only able to create seven shots on goal – with Laurent Pionnier playing an inspired game in the MHSC net – however, the home side will be disappointed with their performance.
Blanc started with Adrien Rabiot, Benjamin Stambouli and debutant Christopher Nkunku in the midfield – and it was clear they missed the creativity of the Italian and the drive of Matuidi. If both are unable to pass fitness tests, it will put a lot of pressure on the trio that is picked to play.
Thiago Motta will likely play as the anchor, with Rabiot and Javier Pastore asked to be the creative force. The Argentine playmaker is still lacking match fitness – asking a lot of the 26-year-old.
This game will be won in the centre of the park, with PSG’s hopes resting on players who might not even be on the pitch.