Defending Premier League champions Chelsea are determined to not let history repeat itself on Wednesday night as they bid to overturn Paris Saint-Germain’s one-goal advantage in their UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Stamford Bridge.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scored for the Ligue 1 runaway leaders, but Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel netted a crucial away goal for the visitors in what is interim boss Guus Hiddink’s only defeat at the London club since arriving back in December.
Rewind back to last March; Laurent Blanc’s side knocked Chelsea out of this competition at the exact same stage, with goals from David Luiz and Thiago Silva sealing an away goals victory for the French outfit after their 3-3 draw (AET) after both legs.
Tonight’s hosts have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League 12 times in the past 13 seasons, making the quarter-finals on eight occasions. Plus; rather encouragingly, Hiddink’s side have scored in their past 22 Champions League home matches – the last time they failed to find the back of the net was against Manchester United back in April 2011.
However Chelsea’s top goalscorer; Diego Costa, who was labelled a ‘fraud’ by PSG’s official Twitter account on Tuesday, has scored just the one Champions League goal in his past 15 outings – stretching back to his strike against Maccabi Tel Aviv in September 2015 during the group stages.
Meanwhile The Parisians are currently enduring their best European run in their club history having reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the fourth successive season.
However history doesn’t bode too well for the French side when they travel to England, with Blanc’s team failing to score in five of their six away games against English clubs in European competition, although the only exception was last season’s triumph at Stamford Bridge.
But on the defensive aspect; PSG have the best defensive record in this season’s Champions League having conceded just two goals in seven meetings, whilst they are also the only team yet to concede a goal in the second-half of a Champions League tie this campaign.
Captain John Terry will once again miss out for Chelsea due to his ongoing hamstring injury he sustained last month.
However forward Costa returns to the first-team frame after missing Saturday’s Premier League draw against Stoke City with a tendon problem, with Pedro also available.
Meanwhile PSG midfielder Marco Verratti (Groin) faces a late fitness test ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge.
Full-back Serge Aurier remains absent due to his suspension after insulting manager Blanc in an online video.
Star players Ibrahimovic, Luiz and Silva are all set to return to the visitors’ starting line-up after the trio were left out of Saturday’s Ligue 1 goalless draw with Montpellier.
League Position: Chelsea – 10th (Premier League – 40 pts); PSG – 1st (Ligue 1 – 74 pts)
Previous Meeting: PSG 2-1 Chelsea – February 16, 2016 (Champions League)
Form: Chelsea – WLWWWD; PSG – DWWLWD
Key Men: Chelsea – Diego Costa; PSG – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Shoot Says: Chelsea 1-1 PSG