PSG v Barcelona: Goals the smart selection on glorious night in Paris

Marco Verratti was on the scoresheet when the sides met in the group phase in the autmn
Marco Verratti was on the scoresheet when the sides met in the group phase in the autmn
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A thrilling encounter is on the cards when PSG and Barcelona lock horns at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, writes James Eastham...

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PSG v Barcelona
Wed, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports 1


Introduction

For PSG Thiago Motta (injured) and Marco Verratti (suspended) are out. David Luiz returns from injury but is doubtful. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended following his red card at Chelsea in the previous round.

For the visitors Dani Alves is suspended. Adriano is favourite to replace him. Javier Mascherano is a contender to start after being named among the substitutes against Sevilla (2-2) at the weekend.


Match Odds
PSG 5.04/1, Barcelona 1.814/5, The Draw 3.953/1

Barcelona are given a 55% chance of winning this game. Those odds seem a little short even though the Catalans deserve to be favourites.

PSG are one of Europe's best sides and showed how difficult they are to beat when they drew home and away against Chelsea in the last round, doing so with 10 men for most of the match at Stamford Bridge. They will also draw confidence from their 3-2 victory over Barcelona in the group phase last September. A win might be beyond the hosts but they have tremendous experience in their side (Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Blaise Matuidi) and a growing awareness of how to handle these big European occasions.

At the prices available I would consider backing the draw or laying Barcelona.


Under/Over 2.5 Goals
Unders 2.0421/20, Overs 1.9310/11

I was surprised to find Over 2.5 Goals available as big as 1.9310/11 on this match.

It's too simplistic to look at the array of attacking talent on show and automatically conclude this will be a goals-fest but there are more strategic reasons to believe this will be an open encounter of chances and goals.

Barcelona have already shown they're capable of scoring away from home in the knockout phase by netting twice at Manchester City in the previous round. The fact they conceded in that game also hints at the defensive insecurity against the very best opposition that is a concern for Luis Enrique's team.

PSG scored in both legs against Chelsea in the last round. They have netted at least once in 21 of 22 fixtures in all competitions since the start of the year and warmed-up for this match by thrashing Bastia 4-0 in the French League Cup final on Saturday night. Significantly Edinson Cavani came off the bench to score twice in the final 30 minutes of that match, suggesting PSG will pose a goals threat even though Ibrahimovic is missing.

It's also worth noting both group meetings between the sides last autumn featured over 2.5 goals (3-2 to PSG in Paris, 3-1 to Barcelona in the return fixture). I expect this game to open up sooner rather than later so Overs is the selection.


Both Teams to Score

The most obvious and sensible alternative to Over 2.5 Goals is 'Yes' in the Both Teams to Score? market. The odds are shorter (1.814/5) than the odds on Over 2.5 Goals but with this selection you cover the 1-1 draw.


To Score

PSG showed their aerial prowess at set-pieces against Chelsea in the last round as David Luiz and Thiago Silva headed the goals that earned them a quarter-final berth. David Luiz is unavailable this week but Thiago Silva is worth considering in the 'To Score' market as he will be a danger. The ex-Brazil captain will be around 16.015/1 when the market has liquidity.

As mentioned above Edinson Cavani warmed-up for this game in fine style at the weekend and will also pose a goals threat in the air. As the dominant figure at the point of the attack he is worth considering at 3.814/5.


Recommended Bets
Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.9310/11

Lay Barcelona @ 1.814/5

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