Can Chelsea Keep Their Champions League Dream Alive?
Javier Pastore’s late goal gave PSG a 3-1 win over the Blues in Paris and left Chelsea with a lot of work to do at Stamford Bridge if they want to progress in Europe’s top club competition. Chelsea dominated the first half of the first leg after an early Lavezzi goal but found themselves exposed in the second half, the special one will have his work cut out if he wants to maintain his record of never being knocked out at the quarter final stage of the Champions League.
It is imperative that Chelsea contain the Paris front three much better than the first leg where Ezequiel Lavezzi caused the Chelsea back four all sorts of problems with his pace on the counter attack. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out injured, it is likely Edinson Cavani will move into the centre and will be replaced on the wing by either Lucas Moura or Pastore. This will provide both Chelsea full back with a stern test and both will have to be careful going forward. With Chelsea likely to need a clean sheet to go through without extra time it is vital David Luiz is more disciplined in his role as a defensive midfielder than we have seen him before, he will need to provide cover for each full back which will in turn allow them the freedom to get at PSG from wide and potentially create goal scoring opportunities.
Jose Mourinho made the controversial decision to start with no recognised striker last week but that will surely change as Chelsea need at least two goals in order to progress. Whether it is Demba Ba or Fernando Torres who is thrown in, it would be sensible for them to focus their efforts towards exposing Alex’s lack of pace at the back as Thiago Silva is one of the top centre backs in the world.
The wings are where I believe Chelsea can win this game and is why Chelsea should start with a striker who will look to poach in the box. Christophe Jallet and Maxwell are possibly the two weakest links in Paris St-Germain’s expensive starting eleven, if Hazard and Willian can get at their full backs more than their disappointing first leg efforts it should spell trouble for their opponents. With Jallet – a back-up right back – not suitably test in the first leg, I would suggest handing Ashley Cole a rare start at left back, being a natural left footer with a willingness to overlap would free Eden Hazard to drfit inside knowing Cole will always be on the outside to whip in a cross. This combination should make Chelsea a force to feared down the left side.
This will be a big test for Chelsea as PSG are undoubtedly a top side. But Chelsea are famously strong at Stamford Bridge, and if Mourinho can get it right it could be another historic European night at Stamford Bridge.
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