The first leg of any two-legged knockout tie in the Champions League is often cagey, but Emery and Enrique possess attacking, purist philosophies and recent meetings between the sides have had goals in them. With the absences of Barca stalwart Javier Mascherano and PSG centre back Thiago Silva, perhaps tonight’s clash should be no different.
Ruled out: Silva, Krychowiak, Pastore
Likely starting XI: Trapp; Aurier, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas Moura, Draxler, Di Maria; Cavani
Ruled out: Aleix Vidal, Mascherano
Late fitness test: Rafinha
Likely starting XI: ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Edinson Cavani is enjoying a golden campaign with PSG, having netted 25 goals in 22 Ligue 1 starts and 6 goals in the Champions League group stage, making the Uruguayan the tournament’s second top scorer behind, predictably, Lionel Messi. Brazilian Lucas Moura seems to have finally grown into his surroundings in Paris and the PSG winger seems to be enjoying a permanent fixture in Unai Emery’s team.
It’s difficult to pick one isolated threat in Barcelona’s all-South American front 3, but Neymar will be out to prove a point against a few Brazilian compatriots at the club that so publicly chased his signature in the summer. With Javier Mascherano injured, 2010 World Cup winner Gerard Piqué’s experience at the back will be crucial against a talented PSG side also possessing numerous attacking weapons.
Key Match Stats
- PSG are undefeated in their last 6 matches in the Champions League.
- PSG have seen over 2.5 goals scored in their last 4 home matches against Barcelona.
- There have been over 2.5 goals in 8 of PSG’s last 10 Champions League matches.
- Barcelona have won the last 3 meetings between the sides in the Champions League.
- Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 matches against PSG.
- Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 Champions League matches.
PicksPSG vs Barcelona is a box office encounter between teams who might view Europe as their likeliest route to silverware. ClickaBet offered odds of 3.47 for the draw and that that looks like smart money.