Champions League Betting – Chelsea Still have Fighting vs PSG
PSG (+175) at Chelsea (+160), Draw (+220)
Chelsea and PSG will resume their Round of 16 showdown next week when the series shifts to Stamford Bridge (March 9, 2:45 PM Eastern). PSG enters with the advantage of a game-one win (2-1) and Chelsea with the consolation of an away goal.
The first leg proved to be a tight game, with Edinson Cavani scoring the winning goal late in the 78th minute for PSG. And while Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois was made to work significantly harder than PSG’s Kevin Trapp, both teams had ample chances to seal the game.
If we take the numbers at face value, the Blues appear to be in dire straights. Chelsea (8-9-9, 33 points) is struggling to break the top half of the EPL, while PSG (23-4-0, 73 points) is 24 points clear of second-place in Ligue 1.
But that would be unfair to the post-Jose Mourinho Chelsea squad, who recently annihilated Manchester City (5-1) in the fifth round of the FA Cup and have not lost a single Premier League game since interim manager Guus Hiddink took over.
Besides, comparing the Premier League with Ligue 1 is like comparing an apples to oranges – or, more accurately, an apple that was once ripe but is now slowly decaying to an orange that was never good to begin with.
Still, there’s no denying PSG’s quality, and Chelsea will need an exceptional performance; the French powerhouse only needs a draw to advance, and can afford to sit back and wait for the perfect opportunity to counterattack. With their two Brazilian center backs, captain Thiago Silva and former Chelsea defender David Luiz, in a fully defensive mindset, the PSG back line will be hard to crack.
The odds of Chelsea doing so look a lot better now than they would have a few weeks ago. With Pedro starting to shine, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard finally back in their usual form, and Willian continuing to exceed expectations, the Blues’ attack has been revitalized. They once again have one of the most dangerous frontlines in football.
But Hiddink will have to balance the need to win with the need to keep PSG off the board. An away goal from the visitors would put Chelsea on the brink, and with Ibrahimovic leading the PSG attack, Chelsea may be forced to play more defensively than they would otherwise hope.
(Photo Credit: By CFC Unofficial (Debs) (Chelsea 2 PSG 0) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)