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PSG v Valencia: Jittery hosts set for a nervy evening

Ezequiel Lavezzi will play but his more famous team-mate is out

“PSG are under pressure and may struggle without their best player.”

Lay PSG v Valencia @ 1.9420/21

With an away win in the bag Carlo Ancelotti's side are in pole position to progress from this tie but James Eastham expects them to struggle on Wednesday night.


PSG v Valencia, Sky Sports 4, 19:45 GMT, Match Odds: PSG 1.9210/11, Valencia 4.47/2, The Draw 3.8514/5
PSG are runaway favourites to qualify but offer little value on the night because talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out.

Having won 2-1 in Spain in the first leg (where both our betting recommendations came off) the French club are 1.152/13 to reach the last eight but even if they pull off that feat it could be harder than the market suggests.

PSG are 1.9210/11 to win the second leg at Parc des Princes and that price holds little appeal because Ibrahimovic is suspended having been sent off in the dying moments of the first leg.

David Beckham may dominate headlines in France but the giant Sweden striker is the star player and has been key to the progress they have made this season. In the Champions League he has scored twice and supplied five assists. In all competitions he has scored 26 goals in 33 games since arriving at the club last summer.

There is an argument PSG can be more complete when he's not on the field as he tends to draw the ball and his team-mates' focus to him like a magnet, but the lack of a reliable goals threat without him is a concern. France international Jeremy Menez is doubtful because of a hamstring problem so Ezequiel Lavezzi and Kevin Gameiro could start up front.

Valencia have drawn twice (both 2-2) and won once since their first meeting against PSG. They have a good European pedigree and little to lose. Psychologically the Spanish players are under virtually no pressure because expectations are so low after that first-leg setback, so they may be able to relax and play their best football.

The opposite is true for PSG because they are in such a strong position. Mentally this is arguably the biggest test they have faced all season: they are staring at a place in the last eight and widely seen as shoo-ins but if Valencia were to start brightly or score early the notoriously fickle Parisian crowd may become jittery and the players - many of whom are inexperienced at this level - may start to wobble.

I would back the draw at 3.8514/5 or lay PSG at odds-on because the visitors are good enough to avoid defeat. 

Over 2.5 Goals at 1.9620/21 and 'Yes' in the Both Teams to Score? market at 1.814/5 are also worth considering.

Leaving out two games against Real Madrid, Valencia have scored in 17 of their last 18 games in all competitions. PSG have scored in 16 of their last 18 games in all competitions.

Recommended Bets
Best Bet: Lay PSG @ 1.9420/21
Both Teams to Score @ 1.814/5

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05 March 2013

Champions League

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