Five talking points ahead of PSG V Chelsea

15 February 2016 10:35

Chelsea play Paris St Germain in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday night. Here Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points ahead of the clash at Parc des Princes.


Chelsea won the 2014 quarter-final tie on away goals, PSG prevailed at the last-16 stage by the same method 12 months ago. Chelsea play away first for the third time in a row, knowing an away goal at Parc des Princes could be crucial ahead of the March 9 return at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard and the masked Diego Costa will be key for the Blues.


If John Terry is ruled out by a hamstring injury sustained against Newcastle - joining Kurt Zouma (knee) in being absent - Chelsea will have lost their first-choice centre back pairing. Branislav Ivanovic will have to move into the centre of defence, having underperformed for much of this season at right-back. The absence of Nemanja Matic (suspended) means John Obi Mikel's role is even more important.


PSG are 24 points clear at the top of Ligue 1; Chelsea are 12th, 20 points behind leaders Leicester. The Blues' decline may have been sharp, but it is in part down to the competitive nature of the Premier League. But can that competition benefit English clubs in Europe? Recent seasons suggest it has been a hindrance. Chelsea's European Cup win in 2012 was a "blip" the Blues hope can be repeated to ensure they play Champions League football next term.


Serge Aurier has been suspended after making disparaging remarks about PSG boss Laurent Blanc and some team-mates, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The question is whether this is one rogue critic or if there are wider fractures in the team. The announcement Marco Verratti has extended his stay at Parc des Princes, along with Blanc, suggests the former.


Chelsea's ticket allocation for the match was reduced by 700 to 1400 in response to last November's terrorist atrocities in Paris. Violence in the French capital surrounding last season's fixture and a racist incident on the Paris Metro were also factors. Souleymane Sylla, the French-Mauritian victim of the abhorrent racist abuse, has accepted an invite from PSG to the match, which it is hoped takes place without off-field incident.

Source: PA-WIRE

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