Barcelona versus Paris Saint Germain: Are we in for something special?
As the season comes to a close and league winners become apparent, Europe’s illustrious competition, the Champions League still hangs in the balance.
After the first leg of the quarter finals, some have already progressed to the next round, but little has happened that was of the unexpected.
The first leg clash between Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) resulted in a 2-2 draw in Paris. PSG was lucky to grab an equaliser at a crucial point in time. However, the French still have to travel to the port city for the return leg and have gotten themselves trapped in an uphill task.
At this point, Barcelona has the upper hand with two away goals through Messi and Xavi, and will be content with passing the ball at Camp Nou. This will leave their avid fans disappointed but will ensure their qualification to the next round, which perhaps, is their top priority.
The World Player of the year, Lionel Messi, is in for a late fitness test because of a recent hamstring injury that was sustained in the previous clash. Although, Barca thrashed Real Mallorca 5-0 at Camp Nou with the absence of Messi, PSG, I believe will prove to be a tougher opponent.
On the plus side though, Cesc Fabregas scored a hat-trick and made his presence known as the best replacement for the South American.
Tito Vilanova’s (the current manager of FC Barcelona) problems are not limited to the pitch but they also extend to the rear. He has to decide on who to pair alongside Pique for the upcoming match as Mascherano is out due to his knee injury and Puyol remains a doubt.
But an upside for them is the return of Eric Abidal as a substitute, after his liver transplant a year ago.
Pedro can also fill the spot for Messi alongside Alexis Sanchez and David Villa.
It is not only Barcelona who is facing such problems, PSG is also in doubt of their star defender Thiago Silva after his injury; a knock on his knee in the Champions League clash at Parc de Princes.
He, alongside Thiago Motta, who has been suffering a thigh injury will undergo a late fitness test.
Beckham who put on a decent performance in the previous match will retain his position as the holding midfielder between the Italian Marco Veratti and Frenchman Clement Chantome.
The former English captain formed a good partnership with the Brazilian Lucas Moura feeding him a pin point long ball, and was able to threaten the Barcelona back four. This is good news for them as the defender Alex has been named in the squad after having recovered from a thigh injury.
Barcelona is currently in set for another La Liga title; they are in a race for second place and beat Real Madrid by 13 points.
Since the inception of Champions League no French based club has beaten Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Barcelona lost their last home game in the Champions League in October 2009 at the hands of Rubin Kazan. Their current unbeaten run stretches to 20 games.
PSG is also in course for a domestic league title with a lead of 7 points with 7 more matches to play.
This is PSG’s best unbeaten run in the competition which lasts 7 games.
PSG’s main marksman Zlatan is leading the assists table in this edition of the European Cup.
Brazillian defender Thiago Silva also holds the honour of making the highest number of interceptions. (33)
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