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PSG face Chelsea in UCL last 16

16 February 2015, 12:38

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 with it."

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.


Chelsea forward Eden Hazard finds it much easier to combine with Diego Costa than he did with Fernando Torres, Costa's predecessor in attack.

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.

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- AP


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