Barcelona (-200) vs PSG (+600), Draw (+450)
After pulling off an upset thrashing over Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain will head to Camp Nou for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, March 8.
When PSG qualified second in their group and drew Barcelona as their round of 16 opponent, not many people favored their chances. The French megastars have had a pretty mediocre season so far and have been regularly underperforming. They are currently second in Ligue 1, a league they are accustomed to winning by a sizable margin, and had a disappointing showing in the group stages of the Champions League.
They lost their star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United at the end of last season and failed to find a suitable replacement. Edinson Cavani took over the role, but his inconsistency in front of goal has repeatedly cost PSG games.
So it came as a surprise to everyone when they trounced Barcelona, arguably the best team in the world, 4-0 on Tuesday. Di Maria opened the scoring in the 18th minute, and scored another in the second half. New recruit Julian Draxler picked up a goal, and so did Cavani.
It was a thrashing in every way. PSG outshot Barca 15 to 6, and even managed to control possession (56%) throughout the game. That’s unheard of against a team like Barcelona, who are considered the epitome of possession-based football.
A lot of the blame has fallen on Messi, who had a quiet game, and their manager Luis Enrique, who always seems to bear the brunt of the criticism.
This marks another disappointment for Barcelona this season. They are currently second in their league, just one point below rivals Real Madrid but they’ve played two more games. They’re still in with a shot at the title but their chances aren’t great.
Barcelona have been known to bounce back from situations like these. But coming back from four goals down without a single away goal seems like an impossible task. However, the bookmakers have Barcelona as the overwhelming favorite for the second leg. After all, it is still the best team in the world playing at home.
PSG had a big win over Barca but they have been under-performing all season. Barca has had some tough losses but they remain in great form. I don’t think they can pull off a 5-0 win, but I can definitely see them winning.
Pick: Barcelona (-200)