John Terry will be a major absentee for the Champions League second leg clash against Paris St Germain in the last 16 round of the competition. Quite possibly in his last season at the club, the 35-year-old would have been hoping to become fit just in time for the game. He has been on the sidelines for almost a month after going off with a hamstring problem in the 5-1 win over Newcastle United.
His absence only added to the problems at central defence where Kurt Zouma has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
In the absence of Terry and Zouma, Guus Hiddink has had little option but to field Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic. After a few jitters early on, the pair appear to have settled on a rhythm. One worrying aspect, though, will be the lack of a clean sheet in the last five matches. Terry said:
“I’m gutted to be missing the PSG game. It’s so frustrating missing any game. But these big Champions League nights at the Bridge are unbelievable and it hurts as a player not to be involved.”
Keeping PSG at bay will be the decisive factor in Chelsea progressing to the next round. A 2-1 win in the first leg means that the blues will have to realistically aim towards a clean sheet in order to progress by scoring a solitary goal. A goal from PSG cancels out the decisive away goal scored by John obi Mikel in the first leg.
Despite being the home team, Chelsea are backed at 9/1 to win the game compared to PSG’s slightly better odds of 13/8 in the latest football betting odds.
Even though we have been up against the French giants consistently in the last few years, Chelsea are clearly at a serious disadvantage in terms of squad strength. This appears to be the main factor behind PSG being the favourites.
Armed with attacking talents like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, and Lucas Mora, it will take a lot of effort to keep the French champions at bay. After all, this was the team that knocked us out of the Champions League last season with only 10 men.
Ivanovic and Cahill are well-equipped to deal with any physical threat that may come their way, but both seem to lack the concentration required to stop strikers from exploiting the channels. Cavani and Ibrahimovic are very good at running into the channels and this is definitely a source of concern.
On the sidelines, Terry will just be hoping that he has not played his last Champions League game.