Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea @ Parc des Princes
Tuesday February 16 @ 19.45
Chelsea face a daunting Champions League last 16 away match against Paris Saint-Germain tonight.
The Blues, fresh from their 5-1 drubbing of Newcastle United on Saturday, will be presented with a very different challenge against the French champions.
PSG have gone 32 Ligue One games without defeat and their goalless draw with Lille at the weekend was the first time they failed to win in 18 matches.
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink said: “They are favourites – they have a good team and when you have such a record, it is a tremendous record.
“But we must go there and play with confidence.”
Chelsea will be well aware of the threat posed by Laurent Blanc’s side having faced them in each of the last two Champions League competitions.
The Blues were eliminated from the tournament last season under Jose Mourinho when Thiago Silva’s extra-time header sent PSG through on away goals.
But Chelsea progressed on away goals a year earlier when Demba Ba’s goal secured a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The fortunes of the current Chelsea side pale in comparison to the last two years as they find themselves 12th in the Premier League after an appalling start.
Hiddink has since steadied the ship and is yet to lose a match in his second spell as interim manager.
That record will be severely tested tonight as the Dutchman must choose from a depleted squad.
John Terry was forced off with a hamstring injury against Newcastle and the Chelsea captain has not travelled with the squad so he will have to wait for his 700th club appearance.
Branislav Ivanovic will partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence and Baba Rahman should come in at left-back, while Nemanja Matic is suspended.
Hiddink said: “They can afford to make changes because they are doing well and are unbeaten and they have had more rest than us.
“We have a huge game next weekend against Manchester City in the FA Cup so we must calm down and take wise decisions for Tuesday and the upcoming weekend.”
PSG are not without their own selection problems as midfielders Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore are unlikely to be risked following injuries.
Right-back Serge Aurier may also have played his final game for the club after a film of him abusing Blanc and players at the club, including Zlatan Imbrahimovic emerged online.
Blanc said: “That boy, two years ago I committed myself to bring him to Paris and what I saw yesterday was all the thank you I got.
“I think that is pitiful.”
The return leg will be played at Stamford Bridge on March 9.
Image courtesy of Chelsea TV via YouTube, with thanks