Valencia-Paris Saint-Germain Preview: Ancelotti's side travel to Spain aiming for first leg advantage
The Champions League returns after the winter break, with the Ligue 1 leaders hoping to make significant progress in a competition they are expected to do well in
By Mohammed Ali
Pereira, Rami, R Costa, Guardado
Victor Ruiz, T Costa
Piatti, Banega, Jonas
Jallet, Alex, Sakho, Maxwell
Lucas Moura, Matuidi, Verratti, Pastore
Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde has no significant injury worries ahead of the visit of Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain to the Mestalla on Tuesday evening.
The likes of Joao Pereira, Victor Ruiz and Diego Alves should return to the starting line-up, having been named among the substitutes for the 1-0 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend.
Of the players who featured in Valencia's last meeting with PSG in the Emirates Cup back in 2007 in London, only David Albelda and Mamadou Sakho remain - though the latter is the only one of the pair expected to start.
Sakho's defensive partner Thiago Silva is out, as is namesake Thiago Motta with the pair nursing thigh injuries, though the Brazilian missed out the last couple of games through suspension.
Blaise Matuidi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Christophe Jallet and Ezequiel Lavezzi were all on the bench in Friday's 3-1 win over Bastia, and all should return to the starting 11.
David Beckham will travel to the Mestalla to watch his new team-mates in action, but has not been included in the squad. His first fixture is likely to be in the Clasico double-header against Olympique de Marseille in two weeks.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Valencia sit in fifth place in La Liga, two points behind Malaga, but are unbeaten in four games - fixtures which have included Barcelona and Real Madrid.
- Should the hosts pick up victory on Tuesday, it will be their 50th in the European Cup/Champions League.
- Los Che have not lost in 17 games out of 18 to Ligue 1 opposition, having beaten PSG's compatriots Lille in the group stage.
- Valencia have not lost a Champions League home game since September 2010 (1-0 v Man Utd) - a run of nine fixtures.
- Paris Saint-Germain sit top of Ligue 1, six points clear of Olympique Lyonnais.
- The Parisien club have conceded just one goal on the road in Europe this season, in a 1-0 reverse to FC Porto.
- PSG's record in Spain reads W3 D1 L3. They lost their last fixture in Spain to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.
- PSG have not been this far (with the exception of a second group stage appearance in 2001) since 1994-95 - the year they were also last champions of France.
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Top 3 Predictions
Valencia CF 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
- 16.52 %
Valencia CF 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
- 12.81 %
Valencia CF 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
- 10.21 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 6, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 1 - Valencia CF 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Feb 12, 2013||Valencia CF 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 2|
|Apr 13, 2014||Valencia CF 2 - Elche 1||LIGA|
|Apr 10, 2014||Valencia CF 5 - Basel 0||EL|
|Apr 6, 2014||Valladolid 0 - Valencia CF 0||LIGA|
|Apr 3, 2014||Basel 3 - Valencia CF 0||EL|
|Mar 30, 2014||Valencia CF 1 - Getafe 3||LIGA|
|18||Jose Andrés Guardado||Midfielder|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
The Valencia captain is up against it given the opposition, but he'll take some heart in knowing that Salvatore Sirigu's 948 minutes without conceding a league goal came to an end on Friday. Soldado has the profile to rough up a PSG defence which is still continuing to take shape given Thiago Silva's injury, and loyal Valencia fans will be looking to him to provide the inspiration as they target a place in the last eight.
The big Swede became the first player to score in the Champions League with six different clubs, but the 31 year old is still searching for perhaps the only major trophy at club level that eludes him. Raring got go havifor started on the bench on Friday, Ibrahimovic returns to the grandest competition of them all, hoping to replicate his redjot form in France.
A difficult match to predict in all honesty. Valencia's home Champions League record speaks for itself and this - despite the allure of the Paris Saint-Germain squad, remains uncharted waters for a club only recently embarking on a pathway of success. Never estimate those who have been in this position often, something even PSG can't claim. Draw, but the visitors should sneak an advantage.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed