Champions League Betting – Chelsea in Tough at PSG
Zack GarrisonNo comments
For the third year in a row, Chelsea and PSG will meet during the UEFA Champions League knockout stage. The first leg of their Round of 16 matchup goes tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 16) at the Parc des Princes in Paris (2:45 PM Eastern).
The two powerhouse squads split the previous meetings. (Chelsea won in 2014, while PSG emerged last year. Both series were decided on away goals.) With Chelsea having a down year in the EPL, and PSG recently posting a 17-game win-streak (all competitions), the French squad are favored to advance to the quarterfinals this time around, listed at -175 to advance versus +137 for Chelsea.
Chelsea’s domestic struggles don’t give much comfort to PSG manager Laurent Blanc, though. He knows the Blues have the star-studded roster to beat any club in the world on any given day.
“Chelsea … are very difficult to play and capable of beating us … We met Chelsea in the past two seasons: they beat us once and we eliminated them once, which shows the level of the two teams is very similar,” said Blanc in his pre-game press conference.
PSG’s impressive win-streak came to an end last weekend thanks to a nil-nil draw with Lille. They’ve only lost one game all year, a 1-0 setback to Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu in the UCL group stage.
Chelsea were able to shrug off their Premier League woes in the group stage, going 4-1-1 with a plus-ten goal differential to top Group G. They also look to have turned a corner in England; the Blues haven’t lost since replacing manager Jose Mourinho with Guus Hiddink. They were just one point clear of the relegation zone when Hiddink took over, but now they have a comfortable nine-point cushion.
They continued the surge last weekend with a dominant 5-1 win over Newcastle.
Despite their recent form, Chelsea know they’re an underdog against PSG.
“We have to rate PSG very highly … [T]they knocked out Chelsea last year, and … they’ve only lost one game so far this season. We’ll have to be very strong tactically … It’ll be very difficult,” said Hiddink to the BBC.
Chelsea are certainly playing better under Hiddink, but they still haven’t won back to back EPL games all season. Don’t chalk them up as the juggernaut they were predicted to be at the outset of the year just yet. I fully expect PSG to hold serve at home in the first leg.
Pick: PSG (-142).