The UEFA Champion trophy round of 16 finally resumes tonight with Ligue 1 defending champions Paris Saint-Germain hosting the reigning Premier League defending champions at the Parc de Princess. Both teams have class and the firepower, and everyone is expecting the matchup to be a thriller. The London side, Chelsea, have not had a good season but with the sacking of Jose Mourinho, they seem to have been reborn under Guus Hiddink.
PSG, on the other hand, saw their winning streak come to an end last weekend after they rested some of their key players.
Let’s have a look what players must start to make Chelsea lineup “Top Gear” to face Laurent Blanc’s side?
The Belgian shot-stopper has been a key member of the Chelsea squad despite missing some crucial games early in the season. He easily edges out Asmir Begovic and should start between the posts for Chelsea.
After an injury ended Kurt Zouma’s season and with John Terry not travelling with the squad to Paris, Chelsea may find themselves battling a defensive crisis.
Cesar Azipilicueta: The most consistent Chelsea defender and arguably in the entire league is expected to orchestrate his magic from the right side of the defence, where he initially plied his trade, before being converted to a super left back.
Abdul Rahman Baba: He has had a rocky beginning to his Chelsea career. However, he has to be solid against a side that is excellent at using the width to attack.
Branislav Ivanovic: The burly Serbian is expected to slot into central defence and with John Terry out with a hamstring injury, he is also the day’s captain. He has not had the preeminent of seasons but has been in good form recently.
Gary Cahill: The hard English man is expected to Marshall the defence alongside Ivanovic, and if Chelsea is to stop PSG, his concentration levels should be quite high. He has been ever-present in the Chelsea lineup for some time now and rightfully so; consistent and talented.
John Obi Mikel: The Hiddink’s favourite should be picked to try and cut out play in central midfield, and with Nemanja Matic suspended for the Paris fixture it is a no brainer Mikel will be in the starting lineup.
Cesc Fabregas: With Eden Hazard back into the frame, the Spanish pass master is expected to drop deeper into his preferred central midfield position. He is known to control the game from this particular position. With his partner in crime Mikel alongside him to lunge into tackles, you can expect him to spray the ball around the pitch.
Willian: Probably the first name on Guus Hiddink’s starting lineup. The pacy Brazilian is expected to continue tearing teams apart from the right side where he is such an artist. He has had a good spell overall, and if that continues in Paris, then he’s going to be a handful for the PSG side.
Oscar: Revitalised under Hiddink, Oscar did not have the best of days under Jose Mourinho. However, he has proven time and again what an asset he can be with some elegant displays. The number 10 role is rightfully his. His good attitude and great talent edge out the rest.
Eden Hazard: Considering that Pedro did score at Newcastle, this is a hard one to make. However, the tricky Belgian is arguably the best player in Stamford Bridge today. He may have been out of touch at the beginning of the season, but has been doing well recently. His willingness to run behind defenders might see him edge out Pedro.
Diego Costa: The controversial striker had decided to create more controversy on the field than goals. With him back in scoring form, Chelsea will prove to be a real handful for the Paris side. With Remy and Falcao out with injuries, and new signing Alexander Pato unfit for game time, Costa is most likely going to lead the line tonight.
On the bench, we will maybe get to see the likes of Bertrand Traore and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who may be given some time to extend their Champions League records. Senior players like Asmir Begovic and Pedro will also be on the bench and may be called upon if the need arises.