Champions League nights are back! And so are Paris Saint Germain, the team we’ll be up against in our 1st leg match of the UCL Round of 16.
With Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa back in action, our squad looks all set to take the big stage. So let’s have a look at our opponents in our Opposition Scouting Report:
PSG: THE TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM:
Paris Saint-Germain FC is a professional association football club, based in Paris, France. Founded in 1970, after the merger of Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain, the club is one of the only two French clubs to have won a major European club competition.
Competing in Ligue 1 since 1974, PSG has won many honours including Ligue 1 title 4 times, Ligue 2 title once, the Coupe de France eight times, the Coupe de la Ligue four times, the Trophée des Champions four times. In Europe, they have won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup once and the UEFA Intertoto Cup once. All of this account for PSG being the third most successful club in the country.
PSG are unbeaten in their last five games in Ligue 1, playing draws in the last 2 and winning the earlier 3. In the Champions League, they came out second in their group behind first placed Barcelona. In the 6 games played, they managed 13 points, winning 4 games, playing a draw away to Ajax Amsterdam and losing their last group game away to Barcelona. At home however, PSG are unbeaten in the last 32 matches in the competition.
PSG: FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY:
In 24 out of a total of 25 games this season in Ligue 1, PSG have started in a 4-3-3 formation. With a prominent three-man attack, and a back four including David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Maxwell pushing the game forward, PSG are known to often control the play in the opposition’s half and try to dominate the possession.
And as you would expect from a possession dominating team, they are always eyeing to find a way through the middle, by making short passes and attempting through balls time and again. Playing a non-aggressive game, the defence is considered good at winning their aerial duels and defending set pieces.
PSG: STRENGTH- KEY PLAYERS:
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic- One thing that PSG manager Laurent Blanc has found difficult is to handle, is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 33-year-old striker, known for his arrogant comments and ego, is nevertheless the leading goal scorer for the club with 11 goals scored in 17 appearances. Although with no efficient work rate, the Sweden international can be a deadly finisher but does not have much influence in the game, in terms of creating space or chances for his teammates. Still, if he can keep his ego aside, and combine well with Edinson Cavani, he can well be the man to turn the evening in PSG’s favour.
2. Thiago Silva- The reason behind PSG keeping a considerable number of clean sheets this season is their solid defence. With a goal difference of 21 in Ligue 1, they have conceded just 22 goals throughout the season. The biggest credit of improving defensive performances over the last few days goes to the captain, Thiago Silva. The 30-year-old’s presence as a centre back, and ability to take the authority, has also made his fellow centre-back David Luiz to play calmly, with the freedom to push forward. He has the highest whoscored.com ratings among the squad and has won the most aerial duels for his team. If at his best, he can be a tough wall for our attack to break owing to his ability to block well and high concentration levels.
If we have a look at the Paris Saint-Germain squad, there are a lot of high profile names. But one of the main reasons why PSG have still not been able to lead the title race in France is their inability to work as a collective unit.
Talking about the attacking fronts, Edison Cavani has not really been able to find his footings playing under the shadow of Ibrahimovic, with just 8 goals scored in 22 appearances in Ligue 1. While the most expensive defender in the world, David Luiz has not done anything special to justify his worth of 50 million euros.
PSG: HEAD TO HEAD:
The two sides have gone head to head only four times in their history. Chelsea have won 2 out of those 4 games; PSG winning one and one match ending in a draw. The last meeting between the two sides saw Chelsea registering a 2-0 win at home in the 2nd leg of last year’s Champions League. Chelsea went through to the semi-finals on away goal advantage after PSG had won the 1st leg by 3-1 at home.
Since the last time we faced PSG, things have changed considerably and Chelsea are a different and stronger side altogether. But the 3-1 loss away to the French club last season should do enough to prevent us from getting carried away. However, if Chelsea play their usual beautiful game tomorrow, we are sure to go into the 2nd leg with a fine victory in the 1st one.
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni