No disrespect to Benfica vs Zenit but all eyes are on PSG and Chelsea tonight.
It’s pretty much customary for the best teams from England and France (according to reigning champions, not current form) to meet in the knockout stages but no one is complaining.
Given that the teams have contested 390 minutes of football over the last three seasons, we think some of the on pitch drama is fairly predictable.
Here’s three things that – thanks to the last three years – are certain to happen tonight:
Diego Costa Will Be A Bastard
This one’s as certain as Aston Villa being relegated this season.
Costa could literally start a fight in an empty room and given that he’s up against David Luiz and Thiago Silva tonight, the room is full of willing opponents.
Silva vs Costa could be billed as the WrestleMania main event, and given that the pair of them will be head to head for 90 minutes tonight, there will certainly be confrontation.
Costa will be wearing a protective mask for his broken nose, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take it off and use it as a weapon while wrestling with Silva at a corner.
There Will Be Fouls
With a quarter-final place at stake, no one wants to go lightly.
The last four meetings over the past two years have produced no less than 140 fouls, meaning referee Carlos Velasco Carballo will be busy.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few bookings tonight (Costa and Silva being the early favourites), given that clashes like this usually see both sides concentrate on not losing the first leg, rather than build an early advantage.
David Luiz plays against his old club and will no doubt be looking to wind people up and John Obi Mikel is set to play, meaning a foul on one of PSG’s midfielders is never far away.
The last four meetings has seen an average of one foul every two and a half minutes.
Best keep your cards handy, ref.
Someone’s Unbeaten Run Will End
Ok, maybe not technically (it could be two draws in two legs) but someone’s Champions League dream will end.
Both sides are currently in the middle of excellent runs of form.
Guus Hiddink hasn’t seen his side lose since he picked up the mess left behind by Jose Mourinho, while Laurent Blanc hasn’t tasted defeat in 23 games.
Granted, PSG’s run is helped by the fact that they are a big fish in a small pond, but no one can deny the talent in their ranks.
This will be a big test for Chelsea under Hiddink and should they come through it, the Dutchman’s reputation will continue to soar.