Chelsea have an uphill task ahead of them as they take on PSG tonight hoping to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Chelsea would ideally want to qualify for the quarter finals, but it will not be easy for the Blues given Marco Verratti’s presence in PSG’s midfield.
First leg at Pard de Princes, Verratti ran riot on Chelsea’s midfield. Likes of Cesc Fabregas and John Obi Mikel failed to close down on the Italian, or lets just say, Verratti was too good for the entire Chelsea’s midfield.
Chelsea will need to stop Verratti tonight
Verratti’s intelligent runs to find spaces and be an outlet for Lucas and Angel Di Maria was irresistible. Seeing him command PSG’s midfield on his own brought back the old memories of him being tipped to be the next Andrea Pirlo of Italian Football.
PSG would not change too much from their first leg win and will field the midfield trio of Verratti, Motta and Matuidi to operate behind Lucas, Di Maria and Ibrahimovic. Motta would ideally sit in front of the back-four and would sweep any space Chelsea can look to exploit.
Matuidi is a willing runner who goes up and down throughout the 90 minutes, while Verratti likes to dictate the play from all kinds of positions he can take in the midfield.
As stated earlier, Verratti will be the man who will be the most likely to cause trouble to Chelsea with his ghost-like runs in to the box. Verratti has a goal in him as well, and he can very well shoot from distance. He often ends up playing as the number 10 and supplying the final ball for either Lucas, Ibrahimovic or Di Maria to hurt their opponents.
Having seen what Verratti is capable of, how can Guus Hiddink stop the Italian dynamite from taking the game away from his side? To start with, Hiddink might want to start with his two defensive minded midfielders John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic.
Matic and Mikel would need to follow Matuidi and Verratti closely without getting drawn in to the man marking mode. Chelsea midfield duo will have to be flexible in their runs and communicate as to who will join in the attack and who will stay back.
As for the forwards Hazard and Willian, their role in keeping Motta busy in his defensive duties. It would the force the likes of Matuidi and Verratti to help out their defense and allow Chelsea to have more of the ball. In doing so, it will give Chelsea a better chance of winning tonight and qualifying for the quarter finals of Champions League this season.
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