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.
Carlo Ancelotti knows that, realistically, anything other than three points at Old Trafford would hand Manchester United an unprecedented 19th league title. The fact that Chelsea must win makes for a fascinating contest and it could be a truly brilliant game.
United’s home form remains formidable, but the Blues have won the past three league encounters with the Red Devils. Interestingly, Chelsea were the last team to beat United on their own soil – in April of last year.
The total goals market will spark some heated debates amongst spread bettors given there have been an average of 2.75 goals in the four meetings between Chelsea and United this campaign. Furthermore, ten of United’s 17 home games this term have featured more than three goals – as have all seven of their games in which they have conceded.
FC Copenhagen’s chances of progression to the quarter-finals are particularly troublesome after their 2-0 first-leg defeat to Chelsea in Denmark. To make matters worse, the Blues have lost only one of their past 25 home European fixtures.
There will be a select few that are looking at buying the visitors' win index. They perhaps would argue that in the first leg the Danes were coming off the back of an 11 week break and were understandably rusty. With another two weeks worth of training, Copenhagen might just fancy their chances of an upset and richly reward their spread supporters.
However, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are also showing signs of improvements on the domestic front and the 2-1 victory against the league leaders has seen that title talk has once more returned. Copenhagen will be disappointed to find that their hosts have won the tie on each of their six times that they have picked up a first-leg away in the competition.
Further evidence to suggest that Chelsea can start planning for the last eight draw is that only once in the Champions League has a side overturned a first league defeat at home to win the tie. Ajax managed it in the 1995/96 competition when beating Panathinaikos 3-0 after losing the first match 1-0.
Those that saw Man United’s game at Wigan would have generally been of the opinion that the 4-0 scoreline somewhat flattered the league leaders. Edwin Van der Saar reaffirmed just what a fantastic keeper he is with a couple of vital saves early on. Sir Alex Ferguson will still have been pleased with the victory and a second successive away clean sheet.
The manager knows that his side are in for a far tougher time at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Although the Blues are a long way off the pace, they will certainly relish the opportunity to derail their rival’s title bid. Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit have kept clean sheets in eight of their 12 league matches at home this campaign, so United will have to be at their clinical best to snap up any chances. With so much riding on this game, one can expect it to be another tight affair.
United will likely line-up with five across midfield and aim not to lose the game. This is the third of United’s run of four tricky games on the road, so fatigue may also play a part tomorrow evening.
It's official: the transfer deadline day has become a parody of itself. The event is already a much-fanfared bi-annual celebration for 24-hour sports news channels and yesterday the online and social networking worlds too went into overdrive as the mere closing of a window took more twists and turns than your average Leo Messi run.
Chelsea (well, Roman Abramovich) certainly bought into the idea of paying over-inflated fees to in order to prepare your team for the home straight of the season as the oligarch's oligarch splashed out on this winter's must-have accessory - an uber-expensive striker. Liverpool's new owners went one step further and bought two blingin' frontmen at the only January sales where prices go up by at least 50 percent.
What good will this do them in the long run? Carlo Ancelotti's renewed brief will be to defend the title his team have looked desperate to relinquish over the past few months. Sporting Index punters buying their Premier League index at 33 need the Blues to finish at least second to see a return. Both they and Ancelotti will be hoping Chelsea can go one better and make up the ten-point gap to Man United.
Desperate measures were employed in what are unquestionably desperate times at Anfield, but if anyone knows how to form a strike pairing then it's King Kenny. The Reds neglecting to buy a defender too is a bit like spending all your weekly groceries money on a Friday night out, yet if Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll hit it off, who on Merseyside will care that Liverpool forgot to buy what they need most? Liverpool remind me of the top-heavy mid-Nineties Newcastle side - they should definitely be more fun to watch and are now priced to take sixth spot in the same Sporting Index market.