Stakes high as Chelsea and PSG clash again

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain meet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with both sides’ seasons riding on the outcome of their Champions League last 16, second leg showdown.

PSG head to London with a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Paris last month thanks to a late Edinson Cavani winner, but the tie is finely poised, with John Obi Mikel’s away goal giving Chelsea plenty of reason to believe they can progress.

Away goals have decided the meetings of the sides in each of the last two seasons, with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge taking PSG through at the same stage last season after Chelsea had come out on top in the 2014 quarter-finals.

The stakes are extremely high for this latest clash of the clubs, with Chelsea looking to Europe for joy while they continue to struggle in the Premier League.

They have lost just once in 16 games since the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December, but that loss came at the Parc des Princes three weeks ago and Chelsea are coming off a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City that surely ended their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, PSG had their minds elsewhere during a 0-0 home draw with Montpellier at the weekend.

They are 23 points clear of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 and could secure another French title as early as next weekend, so they risk having a rather anti-climactic finish to the season if they are eliminated from Europe.

That means there is huge pressure on Laurent Blanc’s team, as Brazilian defender Maxwell admitted.

“Chelsea is on the minds of everyone. It is a very important match. Everyone is waiting for it — the media, the club, the players too,” he told French media after Saturday’s match.

PSG have doubts over the fitness of influential midfield duo Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti but hope at least one of the two will make the game.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Champions League games on US TV and live streaming

“At this time of the season it is difficult to have everyone fully fit. We all have little knocks here and there. We hope to have a full squad,” added Maxwell.

Meanwhile, Chelsea could be without skipper John Terry but Hiddink insisted that Diego Costa should be fine despite sitting out the Stoke draw.

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