UCL 2016. Round of 16. Leg 1.
For the third time in as many seasons, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea face each other in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday. PSG kept Chelsea from the quarterfinals in 2015 winning on aggregate and will look come out on top yet again.
Blues captain John Terry did not travel to the first round of the tie following an injury over the weekend leaving two young defenders Matt Miazga and Jake Clarke-Salter competing for a place on the first team and Gary Cahill in charge of the defensive line. PSG awaits with a healthy squad and hopes of advancing once more.
PSG finished second in Group A, suffering its only loss to Los Merengues at the Santiago Bernabéu. Chelsea won its group with a 4-1-1 record.
The French giant converted some of its lower quality opportunities to come out of the group stage with 11 goals from a total expected goal value (xG) of 10.882. An own goal from Shakhtar made the PSG goal total an even dozen. The Parisians scored 35.3 percent of the opportunities it created, while 17.3 percent of its opportunities were saved by the opposition goalkeepers and 31.8 percent went off target
With an total xG of 11.057, Chelsea benefited from two own goals and a converted penalty to bring its goal total in the group stage to 13. Willian was the top scorer with five – four of those from free-kicks. The Blues created a concentration of better chances within the box. The larger hexagons indicate a higher xG created in that region. That said, nearly a quarter of the opportunities it created were saved by the opposition goalkeepers and just over 27 percent of its opportunities created went off target.
The PSG defense was mostly effective in the group stage allowing only a single goal that came from Real Madrid’s Nacho. The defender capitalized on the combination of a poor clearance from Varane and an error from Kevin Trapp, who left his goal unprotected while running down his goal line. Otherwise, PSG controlled the quality of opportunities from the opposition. Notice the dark green across the defensive third symbolizing the xG created was lower than .15 through each channel.
The Chelsea defense allowed three goals, but overall did a good job of keeping the xG of its opposition below 0.45 across all the defensive channels. The backline forced the opposition to come into the goal area to attempt its successful shots.
Kevin Trapp has been efficient for PSG since coming to the club from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in both UCL and league play. The German has conceded 10 goals in 25 league matches maintaining by far the best record this season in Ligue 1. Apart from the previously mentioned error, Trapp has been highly efficient when tested.
Thibaut Courtois returned from injury after three months to relieve Asmir Begović who played the other five games for Chelsea. In that game against Porto, the Belgian international made three saves from the few low quality opportunities he faced.
PSG sit 24 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table. The team will take to the UCL stage to prove its worth among the best in Europe. For Chelsea, the masked Diego Costa, now in form, may be its salvation.
Originally published on Univision Deportes at: http://www.univision.com/deportes/zona-tecnica/la-previa-de-paris-saint-germain-vs-chelsea-fc