Blaise Matuidi’s injury time equaliser in the first leg kept PSG’s feint Champions League dreams alive ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp. Carlo Ancelotti faces a huge task in Spain if his side are to reach the last four as the Catalans are formidable at home.
Barcelona have won 14 of their 15 home league games this campaign and they have drawn the other. That home record transfers into European matters and punters must look back 20 games to find Barca’s last home defeat – a run stretching over three years.
The Spanish side’s most recent clash with French opposition produced a 5-2 second-leg victory over Lyon in the 2008/09 last 16 round on the back of a 1-1 away draw, their third successive home win against French teams.
Barcelona have won their past six Champions League last eight ties and have scored 19 times in the process.
Barcelona meet Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey for the last domestic action before Euro 2012. Compared to the Catalans’ usual high standards, this campaign has been one of disappointment with no trophies thus far. The Barca players will be desperate to land the Copa Del Rey as it’s also Pep Guardiola’s last game in charge for the foreseeable future.
That all means the bookings index may well come into play and there have been some high totals over the past few finals. Last year Barca and Real Madrid went head-to-head in the final and the game featured seven cautions and a red card – reaching 95 points. The 2010 and 2009 finals produced ten yellow cards between them. The highest total over the past few seasons was in a final featuring Valencia and Getafe in 2008, which matched Sevilla’s game with Getafe the year before. Both finals produced 105 points and the average make-up over the previous five finals currently stands at 81 points.
With one stage of the Formula One season complete, the action moves to Europe and the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. From the four races so far this year, the Championship looks to be one of the closest for years with ten points separating the top five drivers. A familiar face is on top of the pile after Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Bahrain a few weeks ago.
Vettel was untouchable last year, but the opening exchanges suggest he will have to really work hard for a third consecutive F1 title. Spread punters looking to buy his race index will be pleased to know he won in Spain last year and that Red Bull have won the two previous GPs held in Barcelona.
Mark Webber might also be worth looking at in the race index market, as he has started on pole in 2011 and 2010, although he only went on to win the race on Sunday two years ago- as he finished fourth last year.
Kimi Raikkonen finished second in Bahrain, but missed an excellent opportunity to get past Vettel towards the end of the race. The Finnish driver has won in Spain twice before and the most recent occasion was four years ago.
Chelsea take on Barcelona for the first time since their controversial elimination three years ago. Tom Henning Ovrebo was in charge of the whistle that day and there were plenty of challenges flying about in a very heated game. There were seven yellow cards handed out in the last meeting and Eric Abidal was dismissed in the second half. The bookings index total reached 95 points in the Stamford Bridge contest.
Recently this match has a history of producing high card counts and the highest total over the past four fixtures between the clubs came at the Nou Camp where 10 yellows were issued. The average bookings make-up in the past four games currently stands at 69 points.
There have been four red cards shown in the previous ten Chelsea games against Barcelona.
Manchester United have not conceded a single goal away from Old Trafford on their route to the Champions League final - the first side to manage this. But they will face their biggest test so far on Saturday evening - it’ll be a tough ask to keep out a rampant Barca side who have scored 27 goals in the competition. United have managed just 18.
The previous 11 finals have accumulated 29 goals, averaging 2.63 per game. During that period there has been only one goalless draw, which came at Old Trafford in 2003 as AC Milan beat Juventus on penalties.
There have been some very high scoring finals though and football fans will likely recall the epic 3-3 draw between Liverpool and AC Milan in 2005. On that famous night in Istanbul, the total goal minutes make up reached 254, while the previous four finals have made up 105, 71, 216 and 194.