Preview: Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea, Parc des Princes, Paris


PSG have won their last nine games in a row.


By Lewis Brown

When Roman Abramovich took control of Chelsea in July 2003, his eyes were firmly fixed on one prize: the Champions League trophy.

Many managers and even more millions of pounds later, it was finally secured by the unlikely figure of club legend Roberto Di Matteo.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari owners – a sovereign wealth fund with resources that put Chelsea’s Russian benefactor to shame – now have the same demand.  

Fate, seemingly so influential in the West London club’s trophy run in 2012, was always going to dictate the two met in European club football’s most prestigious tournament.

PSG may not have the name recognition of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, but the players are no less intimidating: Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

If the forward line is where PSG have their greatest riches, it is also were Chelsea are found most wanting.

Samuel Eto’o has rediscovered his touch as of late but has failed to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in last month’s destruction of Arsenal.

Fernando Torres is likely to start in his place; to his credit the maligned Spanish striker’s European goalscoring record is far superior to his Premier League feats.

Chelsea will also be missing veteran left-back Ashley Cole with a knee injury and cup-tied January signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah.

Much of the pre-match build up has centred around two former colleagues and Champions League winners with Inter Milan: Ibrahimović and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Both were complimentary ahead of the match, with Ibrahimović saying: “I had a great relationship with him.

“He’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing, knows what he needs to do to win, and has the experience.”

Mourinho returned the compliment: “He wants to win, he wants to work, he wants to be the best.

“For me to be his coach was fantastic.”

The swaggering Swede has scored 40 goals in all competitions this season and is second to only Cristiano Ronaldo in the European Cup.

In contrast Mourinho is being talked about for his off-field exploits, with some speculation that he will snub French broadcaster Canal Plus for reporting what he believed to be off-the-record comments about his players in February.

The manager still seemed to harbour a grudge at Friday’s press conference, questioning a French journalist as to whether he was attending on behalf of the Gallic outlet. 

PSG have won their last nine games and lost just once in sixteen Champions League appearances, while Chelsea are aiming to bounce back after this weekend’s surprise loss to Crystal Palace.

Photo courtesy of by Doha Stadium Plus, with thanks.

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