After going down with 2-1 on aggregate, Chelsea FC will be looking to bounce back to snatch the second leg of Champions League Round of 16 from the mightiest club in France, Paris Saint-Germain.
Chelsea’s recent performances have been relatively better in comparison with the way they started their season. Hiddink’s presence has certainly been productive for the Blues who were struggling under ex-boss Mourinho. But Champions League and PSG are no pieces of cake. The Blues will have to step up and be at their best if they want to qualify for the UCL quarterfinals and beat PSG in both halves of the pitch.
The question is if Chelsea can turn it around and nip PSG at Stamford Bridge.
With a squad that looks intimidating on paper, yes – they can. Diego Costa, in particular, has the required quality to sum up the game with a few strikes. As PSG ace, Marco Verratti said, “French giant must put itself on a war footing against Costa.”
Let’s take a look at how Chelsea can steal away with a win:
Strategies on both halves of the pitch:
Chelsea will miss out on Kurt Zouma, who is absent because of an injury. Gary Cahill, who hasn’t lived up to his standards this season, will be Zouma’s replacement while Terry might miss out as well, surrendering his place to Baba Rahman.
With a one away goal advantage, Chelsea does not need to panic. If Hiddink can make sure his defenders don’t get intimidated by the notorious pair of Ibrahimović and Cavani, while preventing a leakage of goals at the same time, they are in for a match.
One goal won’t be too hard to come by for the Chelsea forwards, as long as Costa stays atop his game. If the Blues can manage to maintain a clean sheet with one goal scored, it wouldn’t be too bad to stretch the game out to extra time and then penalties. Yes – it sounds too predictable, but with the kind of form, PSG is in, Chelsea can’t afford to launch an all-in-all attack. It would leave them vulnerable on their half of the pitch which is unaffordable at this point.
The Costa effect:
Costa has been playing the protagonist in Chelsea’s campaign so far under Hiddink. The Spaniard has scored nine goals in last 14 fixtures which are one-third of the total goals the Blues have netted under the interim manager, Guus Hiddink. Costa had plentiful chances in the first leg but missed out on them because of lack of concentration. Cost – the fighter – missed out on a header that struck the goal post while fumbled in a one-on-one situation against PSG goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp, in the first leg. There is no chance for him to slack around in this game.
Costa has been brilliant at home, striking seven times in seven matches under Hiddink. We will have to wait and watch if the Brazilian-born striker can carry along this form any further.