Wednesday night’s action sees the first of three English sides try to seal their place in the last eight of this year’s Champions League. However, Chelsea might not find it easy as a formidable PSG are the visitors to Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Russian side Zenit St Petersburg look to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their second leg against Portuguese side Benfica. Whatever happens, it should be a thrilling night of action from Europe’s elite competition.
Bring it on.
Chelsea v PSG
Wednesday 9th March. 7:45PM. BT Sport Europe
For the third season in a row, Chelsea welcome PSG to London in the Champions League knockout, and once again it’s all to play for ahead of the crucial second leg. It’s one progression apiece in the past two seasons, and both teams will fancy their chances of advancing.
The Blues are trailing 2-1, but John Obi Mikel’s away goal could prove to be vital. After all, Chelsea have lost just one of 16 games since Guus Hiddink became interim manager. Even a 1-0 win would see the Premier League side prevail, and the quality of Diego Costa and co should give them a fighting chance.
That singular loss did come against their Ligue 1 opponents, though, and Laurent Blanc’s men certainly won’t be scared ahead of this trip to west London. The mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic, supported by the talent of Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani, could be too hot for Chelsea to handle. Sadly for the hosts, an away goal would put the tie firmly in the French side’s favour.
Chelsea are capable of turning it around, but only if they are at their best. One way or another, it should be an intriguing battle at the Bridge.
Chelsea v PSG Betting
With a first leg advantage on their side PSG are favourites to progress. As far as this second leg is concerned, though, it could go either way. Those feelings are replicated perfectly by the betting odds as the French side are slight favourites at 8/5 with Bet365. Home side Chelsea are 13/8 whilst the draw can be backed at 12/5.
Chelsea have no choice but to attack in their bid to overturn their first leg disadvantage. However, PSG know that scoring first would almost end the tie. We don’t think either side will go gung-ho, but the emphasis is likely to be on attack.
The Blues have been involved in seven straight BTTS winners whilst the majority of those recent meetings have ended that way too. We expect a similar story to develop here.
Zenit SP v Benfica
Wednesday 9th March. 5PM. BT Sport Europe
A slender 1-0 home win in Portugal ensures that both Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg will enter Wednesday’s return leg at the Stadion Petrovskij with high hopes of reaching the quarter-final. As usual, it’s an earlier kick-off on Russian soil, and this encounter should provide plenty of entertainment ahead of the headline event in London.
Andre Villas-Boas will have been disappointed to see his side fire a blank three weeks ago. However, the attacking prowess of Hulk, Artem Dzyuba and co should cause the Portuguese visitors problems in Russia. The hosts will be expected to score at the very least and an early goal would put them firmly back in the driving seat.
On the other hand, Rui Vitoria’s men know that an away goal would force Zenit into needing three. Confidence will be high after a run of four straight wins whilst the goals of star man Jonas will always give the visitors a chance in the attacking third.
The first goal could be vital.
Zenit SP v Benfica Betting
With home advantage on their side, Zenit are the favourites to win this clash at 21/20 with Bet365. Benfica are 13/5 to cause an upset while the draw is priced 23/10.
Benfica are a strong outfit and shouldn’t be ruled out, especially as they could afford to lose 2-1 and still progress. Nevertheless, playing on Russian soil will swing this one in Zenit’s favour.
Villas Boas will be desperate to see a big performance from Dzyuba, who has six goals to his name in this year’s competition. We’re backing the 27-year-old to answer the call.