PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc is out to
save his reputation in the Champions League.
Last season, Blanc was criticized for his cautious tactics
against Chelsea in the second leg of the quarterfinals despite holding a 3-1
lead from the first match. On Tuesday, he will get another chance to advance.
Here are some things to know about Tuesday's game.
Blanc is waiting on the fitness of midfielder Blaise Matuidi
after injuries decimated his side last weekend.
Midfielder Yohan Cabaye, winger Lucas, center half Lucas and
right back Sergie Aurier all limped off injured in Saturday's 2-2 home draw
with Caen and have been ruled out.
"Everyone could have done well without all of these
injuries," Blanc said. "It's a big blow for us but we have to cope
Matuidi is rated as doubtful after taking a blow to his knee
and, with Lucas out, Blanc needs Javier Pastore to be shake off a thigh injury.
The Argentine was PSG's best player when it beat Chelsea 3-1
in the home leg of the Champions League quarterfinals last season.
COASTING WITH COSTA
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard finds it much easier to combine
with Diego Costa than he did with Fernando Torres, Costa's predecessor in
Costa's 17 league goals in 19 games have helped propel
Chelsea to the top of the Premier League. Torres, by comparison, scored only 20
league goals in 110 games.
Hazard thinks only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are in
the same bracket as Costa.
"He is one of the best three strikers in the
world," Hazard said on French TV show Telefoot. "He can score at any
time, left foot, right foot. He can be a poacher, or you can play it long to
him. He has everything to take Chelsea to the highest level."
Even the language barrier is easily overcome.
"We haven't spoken much because he doesn't speak
English and I don't speak Spanish much," Hazard said. "But we
understand each other on the pitch."
Paris Saint-Germain's midfield faces a tough test against
Chelsea, and the task could be made even harder without Matuidi.
If Matuidi fails to recover from his injury, coach Laurent
Blanc will have to turn to 19-year-old Adrien Rabiot — who was linked with a
move away from the club throughout the summer and winter transfer windows.
Rabiot has only a handful of Champions League appearances,
and lack of experience could be exposed by a Chelsea midfield led by Cesc
Fabregas and featuring the lightning-quick feet of Oscar.For
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