One of the most attractive series in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 will kick off this Tuesday, February 16, when PSG host Chelsea at the Parc des Princes at 20:45.
Perhaps neither of these two teams is suited to become European Champions, but with some luck during the last draw we could be talking about a quarterfinal matchup, instead of the round of 16.
The Champions League Betting Odds have listed PSG as the favorite to qualify. The French squad pays 1.57 if they advance to the quarterfinals. The EPL team is listed at 2.38.
Talking directly about the first leg to be played in France, the home team was rated at 1.7 to get the victory by any score. Chelsea are at 5.75 to get the upset and the draw is at 3.8.
PSG ended up as the second best in group A, earning 13 points in six games, three less than the group winners, Real Madrid. Les Parisiens scored 12 goals during the group stage and allowed just once, a Champions League’s best.
Here’s the problem for them. Even of their numbers are impressive, they scored only four goals in three matches playing at home. They didn’t allow any, but their offensive performance didn’t amaze anybody either.
The team won’t have Serge Aurier for this series, and perhaps for many time. The Ivorian footballer was banned by the club after insulting his coach Laurent Blanc and a few of his teammates on a Social Media rant.
“I accept the sanctions and I assume the consequences”, Aurier said according to the Daily Star. “What I did was unforgivable. I made a big mistake. I am here to apologise to the coach, my team-mates, the club and the fans.”
On the other hand, and despite the loss of Aurier, Chelsea know they are not the favorites to advance.
“We have to rate PSG very highly. First, because they knocked out Chelsea last year, and I think they’ve only lost one game so far this season. We’ll have to be very strong tactically because PSG’s ambitions are very high. They want to win the Champions League one day, whatever it takes. It’ll be very difficult, but if we have all our players on board then we’re convinced we can do better than last year”, said Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink.
The Blues won group G with 13 points, scoring 13 goals and allowing just three while outperforming Dynamo Kiev, FC Porto and Maccabi Tel Aviv. The success in the Champions League group stage is tied to the previous manager Jose Mourinho; this will be the first time Hiddink is in charge of the team in the European competition.
Very quietly, Chelsea have been getting their confidence back since the Dutch manager took over. They had one of the best wins of the season by beating Newcastle 5-1 during the weekend.
This is the third season in a row these two teams have met in the playoffs stage. Chelsea advanced in 2014 while PSG was in the better end last season. Both series ended tied, and the winners made it through via the away goal rule. Take the home team to win the first meeting in a low scoring affair.