Barcelona battle PSG, but this is no Champions League dead rubber
PSG seem to be a side that the Barcelona of today simply cannot beat. The Catalan giants sneaked through on away goals in last season’s Champions League quarter-final, but the Parisians avenged that exit by beating them in the reverse fixture of this Group F decider.
Coral, nonetheless, make Luis Enrique’s Barca odds-on 4/9 favourites for victory, and that is the only result that will see them beat the Parisians to top spot in this pool. A draw is 15/4, while Laurent Blanc’s boys are tasty 13/2 outsiders to triumph at the Nou Camp.
A repeat scoreline from the Parc des Princes, 3-2 to PSG, is a remote 55/1 prospect, while score draws of 1-1 (8/1) and 2-2 (16/1) look tempting, given how open meetings between these two teams this year have been. While neither the French champions nor Barcelona can lose top two spots in the group, there is the matter of knockout stage seeding to consider.
That should be motivation enough to make this contest interesting. Ballon d’Or nominee Lionel Messi has hit three hat-tricks in his last four outings for Barca, so Brazil pair David Luiz and Thiago Silva will have to be at their best to contain him. Argentina magician Messi is a 7/4 chance for two goals or more against PSG, who he has scored against before, or 7/1 to take the match ball home.
Winger Pedro has netted in his last two games, and also has a goal when previously paired with this opposition on his CV, so is thus another 5/4 anytime chance. Brazil captain Neymar features in a Champions League scorer double that offers punters enhanced odds of 11/4 for him and Bayern Munich frontman Robert Lewandowski to be on target anytime.
One player desperate to plot Barcelona’s downfall will be former Nou Camp star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Trying to fit this mercurial talent in the same team as Messi didn’t really work, but the Sweden superstar never lacks confidence.
Ibrahimovic has four goals in his last three outings for PSG, so is excellent value at 7/4 in the anytime market. Barca also need to be wary of energetic midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who has scored twice against them, and is an 8/1 shot to do so again.
As PSG are unbeaten in Ligue 1 and Europe’s elite club competition this term, they do look the real deal. Having raised their game to beat Barcelona already this autumn, there’s no reason why they won’t do so again here, so back them to win, but the hosts to score at awesome odds of 11/1.