Still hungover from the Capital One Cup win, it’s time for Chelsea to start the hunt for another and quite simply the most coveted title on the sports planet. Yes, I am talking about UCL! The magical nights are back guys!
Still in the hunt for a treble, Chelsea welcomes Paris-Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a hope to qualify for the Quarterfinals of the tournament. And oh yeah, it’s also the homecoming of our favorite Geezer, so be sure to appreciate the efforts of the Geezer, after all, it’s most probably going to end in the losing cause!
Okay, let’s talk a bit of math here. After ending the away fixture 1-1 in Paris, it would be wise to say that Chelsea are in firm control here. A 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge tomorrow would definitely see us advance to the next round while, a 1-1 draw would be the only other result that would lead us to extra time and possibly penalties.
Stamford Bridge is one of the toughest places for the away teams to grind out results and PSG is going to find it very difficult, almost impossible if we are on the top our game, to advance through the quarters. Still, with a lineup like PSG’s, the team is always in for a chance, so here’s our key player battles, that could most probably define the outcome of this game:
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC vs KURT ZOUMA
Zlatan Ibrahimovic! the name itself draws terror in the opposition defense as the Swedish international is definitely one of the best Strikers to have played this beautiful game and come tomorrow, he will be up against our defense, in a bid to grab a goal and revenge his side’s last year loss in the same competition, albeit in quarterfinals.
One of the main strengths of Ibrahimovic is his ability to use his physicality, which makes him a very dangerous threat in the air. As we saw in our 1-1 draw in Paris, the Striker nearly won every aerial duel, coming up against Terry and Cahill, which is saying a lot, considering our defensive duo is one of the best in the air.
As Zouma has shown time and time again this season, he has the ability and potential to become one of the best in the world and although, still fairly young, the Frenchman hasn’t stopped to surprise us with his brilliant play in the defense. Coming up against the strength of Ibra and the speed of Cavani, this could be the toughest test Zouma has faced in his entire career, and if the young CB can pass this one with flying colours, then we definitely advance to the QF with our very own Varane in our helm. Definitely the most important battle to watch out for!
DAVID LUIZ vs DIEGO COSTA
The homecoming of our Geezer! It would be interesting to see how fan reacts to the homecoming of our very own Geezer, David Luiz. Considering the time he spent with us, I hope there’s nothing but appreciation for the Brazilian when he graces the pitch at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Although, Luiz certainly shouldn’t expect the same reaction from our players, once the game starts, surely not from Diego Costa at least! The Spaniard looks to be getting into his best of forms, although, Costa has still to find his goal scoring touch that has made him one of the hottest stars in world football. And what better way to do it than scoring goals on the biggest stage, eh?
Last time we played PSG in Paris, the Geezer had to slot in the DM role (see the irony) due to the various injuries to the squad. With a job to mark Fabregas in the midfield, Luiz did decently although, the Geezer is expected to be back in his preferred CB role alongside Thiago Silva, once he starts tomorrow.
You know what happens when characters like Costa and Luiz comes up against one another, so do look out for this battle!
GREGORY VAN DER WIEL vs EDEN HAZARD
Sure, Diego Costa is our leading goal scorer and Cesc Fabregas is our top assist provider but when as an opposition side, you visit Stamford Bridge, it’s no doubt, the young Belgian who gives you the nastiest of the headaches as a manager and also as a fullback.
To say the Belgian has been in a sublime touch for us would be an understatement but, the Winger is arguably even better for us when he starts at the Bridge for the simple reason that we play more attacking minded football in front of the home crowd which gives the Belgian an opportunity to show his class and flair and consistently destroy the hoards of fullbacks on the wings, week in week out.
With Chelsea set to play their normal game, come tomorrow, Gregory Van Der Wiel could be in for a very long 90 minutes (there won’t be any extra time if Hazard is at his best) making this battle a very fun and exciting one to watch out for. And also because in the UCL, referees “actually” try to do their job, we could be in for a “Hazard show” tomorrow!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt