Tuesday 21st April, 20:45 CET
PSG were put to the sword by a clinical FC Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions Leaguea s quarter final tie at Parc Des Princes last week and the Catalans are now the runaway favorites to reach the semis at the expense of the French champions.
FC Barcelona has looked in great touch in past couple of months and they secured another impressive win against in-form Valencia on Saturday. The Luis Enriquea s men are looking good in all departments of game of late and they will be confident of progressing at the expense of PSG tonight.
PSG on the other hand, were completely outplayed by FC Barcelona and Laurent Blanca s players will have to raise their game remarkably well if they want to have any chance of progression.
Team News & Tactical Brief
After overcoming the challenge of Valencia on Saturday, FC Barcelona remain in hunt for the treble as they are at the top of the La Liga table, while their progression into the semis of the Champions League looks all but secured.
Luis Suarez scored two brilliant goals against PSG in the first leg tie to help Barca secure an easy win while Neymar was also on target for the Catalans at Parc Des Princes.
The form of attacking trio of FC Barcelona, Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, has played a crucial role in the recent success of the Blaugrana and they are more than capable of causing more damage to PSG tonight.
The defence of FC Barcelona, barring the performance of Martin Montoya, looked good in the first leg and return of Dani Alves from the suspension gives Luis Enrique a big boost.
Meanwhile, the biggest reason of worry for Luis Enrique at the moment is his midfield. Andres Iniesta, who is certain to make a return from injury tonight, has struggled for form in past couple of months. Ivan Rakitic put in a great effort in the first leg as his pass accuracy rate was 89 percent. However, Rakitic lacks the charisma of Xavi and Luis Enrique might ask Leo Messi, again, to play the role of attacking midfielder occasionally to add more creativity to his midfield.
FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was criticized during the early part of the season by the Spanish media for his rotation policy. But it now appears that he has made a good impact on this squad and, during his press conference, Luis Enrique looked satisfied with his players.
“They were running low on fuel even before the game kicked off. Overall, it’s been a great week,” Luis Enrique said.
“These players are winners. From the first day I saw that they want to win titles and work hard to do it.
“Now we have to make sure we recover well and see what we can do on Tuesday.
“I only talk about short-term results, that’s all that interests us. There’s not long to go before we can judge how the teama s season has been.”
Predicted Starting XI (4-3-3)- Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Suarez, Messi, Neymar
Laurent Blanc would be hoping for a miraculous recovery from the first leg home loss and the good news for the Frenchman is the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti.
The make-shift midfield of PSG looked out of ideas in the first leg but the return of Marco Verratti comes as a big boost for Laurent Blanc ahead of tonighta s game.
Another reason for the defeat in the first leg for PSG was the wastefulness of Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan striker missed many opportunities to score last week but the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic adds more strength to the attack of PSG.
World Cup a stara of Brazil, David Luiz, made some childish errors against FC Barcelona last week but, it seems that Laurent Blanc will have to start with the curly hair defender again tonight as Thiago Silva, along with Thiago Motta, looks doubtful because of the thigh injury.
Meanwhile, young defender Marquinhos has asked him team-mates to not to give up.
“The return leg at Camp Nou will be very intense and very difficult, but we will go there with the aim of qualifying, with our first intention being to defend well,a said Marquinhos.
“I hope Silva can play. He said the injury to his left thigh was not too serious. Like David Luiz it is primarily due playing too many matches, which has been very heavy late in the season.”
Predicted Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Luiz, Maxwell; Rabiot, Verratti, Matuidi; Cavani, Pastore, Ibrahimovic
Players To Watch Out For
Messi scored his record 400th goal for FC Barcelona on Saturday and the striker, who was not on the score-sheet in the first leg, would be eager to take lead over Cristiano Ronaldo in a race for Golden Shoe tonight.
While their progression looks really very unlikely, the Swedish striker offers little ray of hope for PSG as he has a huge playing experience at the Camp Nou. Ibrahimovic is capable enough to trouble the defence of FC Barcelona and Laurent Blanc would be hoping for a miraculous performance from him tonight.
FC Barcelona 3-1 PSG
Considering the squad strength and current form of both the teams, FC Barcelona look much more powerful than PSG at the moment and it looks highly unlikely that the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic would do any good to the French champions.
Blast From The Past