UCL Preview – PSG need some love against Barcelona on Valentine’s Day

Photo: SkySports

In the city of love [Paris], on the day dedicated to love [Valentine’s Day], PSG need some love against five-time champions Barcelona – a team they have been unlucky to be paired with in the last three seasons.

Both are lagging behind in their respective championships but both have found form in 2017. Unai Emery was wobbling with his team just before the winter break but have now gone on a four-match winning run that has seen them score 12 goals.

For Barcelona, what else can you say apart from the dreaded MSN triangle? Lionel Messi, Neymar and especially Luis Suarez have been raking in the goals and the trio have already scored 41 goals in La Liga this season.

Key factors for victory

Edinson Cavani has scored in each of his last six matches in all competitions but another one on Tuesday against Barcelona would be the cherry. Also Emery has not found a way to stop Barcelona, wherever he has coached but this seems the best opportunity to get one over his tormentors. He has the players but will his game plan that would involve pressing very high up the pitch yield the necessary dividends?

Massive Misses

Barcelona have a gap to plug at right back as Alex Vidal, who seemed to finally begun to show why he was bought injured his ankle against Real Betis in the league. The Catalan giants would also be without Arda Turan and Javier Mascherano.

For PSG, they will be without Thiago Silva with Presnel Kimpembe, who has never played a single minute in the Champions League a likely replacement though Emery might choose to deploy Serge Aurier or Thiago Motta to deputise.

Szymon Marciniak from Poland is the match referee in what should be a free-flowing encounter.

Head to head

21/04/15       UCL     Barcelona    2 – 0    PSG

15/04/15       UCL     PSG                1 – 3    Barcelona

10/12/14       UCL     Barcelona    3 – 1    PSG

30/09/14       UCL     PSG                3 – 2    Barcelona

10/04/13       UCL     Barcelona    1 – 1    PSG

Managers’ Quotes

We’ve looked at several Barcelona games, but we have our own collective identity which should allow us to have a good tie as a team and as individuals. It’ll be difficult for us, but also difficult for them.

We want to seize this chance because we’re playing against one of the best teams in Europe and the world. The squad is very motivated. We’ve worked hard and the players want to show that. We want to show our quality. – Unai Emery, PSG

Paris have played at a high level for the last few weeks. We’ll just have to play better than them and win. Knowing Unai, he will try to make life difficult for us. Both teams have the same goal, but we’ll try to control the ball and create as many chances as possible.

We have good memories of this pitch and this team. It’s never been easy. PSG were never submissive or docile in those games. They know us perfectly. I’m sure it will be a very interesting game. – Luis Enrique, Barcelona

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