FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain
Competition / round: 2020-21 UEFA Champions League, 16th round, 1st stage
Barcelona outs & doubts: Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo (away), Gerard Piqué, Martin Braithwaite (doubt)
PSG outs & doubts: Neymar, Ángel Di María, Colin Dagba, Juan Bernat, Timothée Pembélé (away), Marco Verratti (doubt)
Date time: Tuesday 16 February 2021, 21:00 CET / WAT (Barcelona and Nigeria), 20:00 GMT (UK), 15:00 ET, 12:00 PT (USA), 1.30 IST (India, Wednesday)
Location: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Judging: Björn Kuipers (NED)
WAS: Pol van Boekel (NED)
How to watch TV: TUDN (USA), BT Sport 3 (UK), SONY TEN 2 (India), Canal + Sport 3 (Nigeria), Movistar League of Champions (Spain), others
After a very good victory against Alavés to expand their unbeaten streak in The League, Barcelona are back in action for the biggest match of the season so far: first leg of their Champions League round 16 draw against Paris Saint-Germain.
Due to a terrible loss for Juventus in the final of the group stage in December last year, Barça finished in second place in their group and face a group winner with the second game played at home, and a draw with PSG is not easy at all.
But as is often the case, you can not judge the 16-part draw when it is made in December, as the matches only take place in February, and teams can change a lot in the two months. And both teams have: PSG went to Champions League finalists to change their coach to not look like a world-class anymore, and Barça have improved enormously and have come into this in their best form of the season.
Ronald Koeman still has to prove himself in big games and it’s hard to get bigger than this one. Given their away games in Europe over the last three years, Barça MUST get a result in the first stage, especially as there is a good chance that the injured Neymar is back for the return match in Paris.
As Neymar and Ángel Di María miss this one, PSG’s creative burden will fall on the shoulders of Kylian Mbappé, who struggled at the start of the season but – almost literally – is flying right now. Defending him well is the key to Barça getting a result, and if Gerard Piqué confirms the rumors and plays on Tuesday, Blaugranachances improve.
The league form is fantastic and Barça are a little healthier by getting into this one, but they have yet to win a really big game this season. In fact, they have not even played well in a really big game. If they don’t make it on Tuesday and get beaten badly, it’s really hard to see them pulling another 6-1 out in the other leg. After all, Sergi Roberto is injured.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann
PSG (4-2-3-1): Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Paredes, Gueye; Sarabia, Verratti, Mbappé; Icardi
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this match. It could be an embarrassing night for Barça in Europe again, or they could come out and stun PSG with a couple of early goals and then protect their lead for the rest of the game. Because I am optimistic, I will bet on the second result: 2-1 to the good guys.
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