PSG have qualification chance with Messi unlikely to be 100 per cent
In the last round Barcelona showed Milan exactly how overwhelming they can be at Camp Nou when qualification for the next round is at stake, smashing them 4-0 to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit. Lionel Messi was the architect of the Barca win that day just as he provided the goal which sent PSG scuttling back into their shells after a bright start at Parc des Princes, but with the great man the subject of a late fitness test due to a hamstring injury their visitors will hold out hope of qualification, for which they can be backed at 5/1.
Barcelona haven’t been beaten at home in Champions League action since Rubin Kazan shocked a team including nowaday-PSG-totem Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in October 2009, but they have been held to a draw in the competition three times during that period – a result which can be backed at 4/1 with Coral.
The hosts will not only be fielding an at-best semi-fit Lionel Messi, but they will be without both Carles Puyol and first choice backup Javier Mascherano, meaning Marc Batra – a youth product with just three Champions League starts to his name – may be called in alongside Gerard Pique.
The pair have teamed up just twice this season including a draw against a Celta Vigo side missing leading leading scorer Iago Aspas which Barca conceded twice.
Zlatan Ibrahimovich – who has scored four goals in his last four outings for the Parisians – is far too good a striker for a fledgling defensive partenship to contain for an entire game and can be backed to score at anytime during proceedings at 11/4.
Carlo Ancelotti’s suffered a dip in road form recently, going three games without a win, but they shook the monkey off their backs with the utmost nonchalance when registering a 2-0 win at Rennes last Friday.
PSG have boasted a formidable road defence during the current campaign, keeping clean sheets in half of their 20 away games across all competitions.
With away goals in their favour, a soft-centred defensive partnership to probe and a road defence that can be very resolute PSG could pull off a shock by dumping Los Blaugrana out of the competition for which they are currently favourites.