It’s finally back!
Forget Valentine’s, February is all about the return of the Champions League. PSG vs Chelsea isn’t a bad way to resume, either.
This fixture seems to be an annual thing, with the two sides meeting in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition for the third year running.
Demba Ba netted a dramatic winner back in 2014, but PSG got their revenge 12 months later, thanks to Thiago Silva’s extra-time header.
But who will be the hero and who will be the villain this time round? We take a look at the six players who will almost certainly be on the back pages tomorrow.
Zlatan may have a sense of injustice to overcome tonight, after being sent off after 31 minutes of last season’s last 16 clash for smashing Oscar.
The giant Swede enjoyed a rest at the weekend and should be in top form, having blasted 21 goals – more than 13th-placed Lille – so far this season.
Despite being 34, Ibrahimovic remains one of Europe’s most feared strikers and he’ll fancy his chances against Chelsea’s patched-up back four which will miss John Terry.
The former Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax striker has 17 goals in 29 Champions League appearances for PSG and after tonight, no one will be surprised if he increases that tally.
Undoubtedly Chelsea’s best player this season, the Brazilian is key for the Blues tonight.
Chelsea are up against it, but if they are to get anything, Willian will have to be on top form. He enjoyed an easy day at the office on Saturday, ripping Newcastle United’s defence to shreds with minimal effort.
Last season’s game featured no less than 41 fouls, so the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder’s impressive free kick record could be central to any success Guus Hiddink’s side enjoys.
Add to that the fact that Willian’s direct opponent is one of PSG’s less amazing players – left-back Maxwell – and Chelsea at least have some hope tonight.
Angel Di Maria
Despite being booted out of Manchester United by Louis van Gaal, Di Maria is still one of the world’s finest wingers.
Seeing as PSG aren’t playing him as a wing-back, it’s hardly surprising that the Argentine is back to his best.
The former Real Madrid man has nine goals so far this season – just three behind France’s second-highest scorer, Michy Batshuayi (the highest being Zlatan, of course).
Di Maria will be keen to show the watching English public that he’s no flop, and could end up the star of the show.
He may be an absolute bastard, but Diego Costa has all the tools to play a massive part in tonight’s clash.
Costa will be marked by Thiago Silva and given the duo’s tendancy to like the physical side of the game, this will be one to watch.
Under Hiddink, Costa has returned to somewhere near his best. He’s scored eight goals in his last 11 games and during that time, has only picked up three bookings for being a prick.
He only has one Champions League goal this season but that was under Jose Mourinho, who regularly clashed with the Brazil-born Spaniard.
Never one to shy away from the spotlight, David Luiz will certainly play an important part tonight.
The former Chelsea man scored a crucial equaliser during last season’s clash and sacked off the usual respectful celebration, instead opting to run off screaming around Stamford Bridge.
Luiz has a knack of scoring big goals and will fancy any long range free kicks that come his way, while also dribbling through midfield with all the grace of a pissed-up Cockney.
We shouldn’t forget that the worst part of Luiz’s game is probably his defending, so it could be from one of his mistakes that Chelsea find an opening in what will likely be a tight affair.
Alright, he’s been absolutely shite this season but Hazard still has the talent to do something big tonight.
The Belgian has been linked with a move to PSG and could use tonight as a platform to show the French giants what they could buy this summer.
Whether or not Guus Hiddink will start him or not is another matter, given his recent comments about finding it ‘hard to say no to PSG’.
Hazard ranks winning the Champions League as the main objective of his career, but rather than eyeing a transfer, he’d be best off pulling his finger out and starring for his current club tonight.