Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona - Champions League Match Preview - 3:45 PM EST Tuesday September 30, 2014 Parc des Princes, Paris France
By Jason, Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Paris Saint-Germain l 3.10 / Barcelona 2.25 / Draw 3.40
Moneyline: Paris Saint-Germain l +210 / Barcelona +125 / Draw +240
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
NOTE: Both teams are in action this weekend, so check out injury reports and stats.
PSG has looked to get back into the upper echelon of European soccer with their free spending for legit players in the last couple of years, but can they beat the Spanish Giant? Odds makers have them as the home betting underdog in the first leg between these 2 teams in Champions League group play.
Maybe the bigger question for PSG is can they score on the Barcelona defense? To say that the Barca defense is in top form would be a major understatement, as through 5 Spain La Liga matches they have yet to concede a goal.
These 2 teams are not in the toughest of groups, but PSG did not get off to a good start playing to a draw with Ajax while Barca took 3 points beating APOEL. If PSG loses this match they may have to settle for 2nd in group play, which would mean they would likely play a top-flight club IF they advance to the knockout stage.
PSG had played to 3 straight draws, only scoring 1 goal in each match, before winning their last match.
PSG sits in a tie for 3rd place in France Ligue 1, which they won last season. They are unbeaten on the season, but do have a couple of draws in their last 2 matches.
Barcelona is tied with Valencia for first place in the La Liga table and they should be first, but played to a scoreless draw in their last match facing Malaga.
It is no secret who the Barca defense has to key on in this CL match. Zlatan Ibrahimovic ranks 2nd in Ligue 1 with 5 goals and Edinson Cavani has 3. This due has scored more than half of PSG’s goals this season in league play and if the Barcelona defense can keep them in check they have a great shot to take 3 points.
Lionel Messi and Neymar each have 2 goals apiece and they ware the players the PSG defense has to key on. On the Ligue 1 season PSG has conceded 4 goals in 7 matches.
While Messi is obviously a superstar the PSG defense cannot only focus on him, as he has made them pay when teams do that and that can be seen since he has the most assists so far in La Liga play.
Look for PSG to employ the same old tactics that other clubs use against Barca, which is to drop back on defense, big time, and pick and choose their times to attack. However, that is not the strength of the French squad 11 and their counter-attack game does not suit them.
PSG plays an attacking style and they are not as strong as Barcelona in the midfield. That area of the pitch will be very important in this game, especially for PSG, who really need to make sure than Barca does not totally dominate the time of possession.
PSG Recent Form
8/31/2014 PSG 5 Saint-tienne 0 (Ligue 1)
9/13/2014 Rennes 1 PSG 1 (Ligue 1)
9/17/2014 Ajax 1 PSG 1 (Champions League)
9/21/2014 PSG 1 Olympique Lyonnais 1 (Ligue 1)
Caen 0 PSG 2 (Ligue 1)
Barcelona Recent Form
8/31/2014 Villarreal 0 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
9/13/2014 Barcelona 2 Athletic Club 0 (La Liga)
9/17/2014 Barcelona 1 APOEL 0 (Champions League)
9/21/2014 Levante 0 Barcelona 5 (La Liga)
9/24/2014 Mlaga 0 Barcelona 0 (La Liga)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: This one is a tough one to call, as I think PSG will play a solid match on defense, as 1 point will be fine for them while giving away 3 would be a disaster. Still, Barca’ defense is in top form and while they were held to 1 goal in their last Champions League encounter they will come out in this one and win by a score of 2-0.