It was three weeks ago now since PSG played Barcelona off the park in Paris, and now they travel to the Camp Nou to take on the Catalan giants as they try to avoid a historic defeat. Sounds comfortable for someone of the calibre of PSG, but I don’t think their out of the woods just yet…
When Edinson Cavani smashed home his first ever goal against Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain’s fourth, Les Parisiens, including myself, were is heaven with every right to be so. That night Emery got his tactics spot on and but the former Seville manager arguably has a tougher job with his organisation this time around.
So how do you go about stopping Barcelona in their back yard? Sit back and defend with a rick of being torn apart by ‘MSN’ who surely can’t be as anonymous as last time out; or does Emery go on the offensive again. Julian Draxler certainly believes this is right way to approach the game in Barcelona: “I think it’s important to attack and not just think about defending.” Emery certainly has a tougher job getting the Paris players in he right mind set for the second leg.
“We’re not afraid of anyone, we’re focused on ourselves”
Blaise Matuidi on Barcelona and Lionel Messi
If league form is something to go by, Barcelona have improved dramatically since being humiliated by PSG. Their last two outings have resulted in 6-1 and 5-0 wins over Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo, despite Luis Enrique declaring his resignation at the end of the season.
PSG certainly have enough quality to get through this game with ease. Restricting Barcelona from scoring early in the match is crucial for Les Parisiens and a single goal could put the game of bed and send PSG, against all the odds when the draw was made, through to the Quarter Finals at the expense of Barcelona.
Amazingly, Paris Saint Germain have every senior player fit and ready to play- apart from Thiago Motta and Goncalo Guedes who is cup tied – as part of the 23 man squad to face Barcelona. Unai Emery is likely to name a similar team to the first leg. Di Maria, however, could be left on the bench due to a recent injry layoff and Lucas Moura could pose more of a threat on the counter attack at the Camp Nou if Emery is willing to start the Brazilian.
Predicted Starting XI
(4-3-3) Trapp; Meunier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Kurzawa; Rabiot, Verratti, Matuidi; Draxler, Cavani, Lucas
Subs: Areola, Kimpembe, Maxwell, Nkunku, Pastore, Di Maria, Ben Arfa
Barcelona 3-1 PSG