perhaps European Cup round of 16 was kick-started in a fashion on Tuesday night with the biggest game in Parc Des Princes stadium. Paris St. Germain hosted Chelsea in the first leg and cruised to a crucial 2-1 win at the end of very fascinating and intense battle. this match widely regarded as the golden opportunity for the Parisians to define their serious aspiration to become a major favorite in pursuit of their long-lasting European glory as a dominant force of French football in the recent years and relatively they have shown such idea in more difficult way although. The Blues presented a very ambitious character against their host in far more than expectations prior to the game for being considered of having slim chance to trouble P.S.G. relatively for their struggling form this season, but they proved a different story on the night. Chelsea’s back-line provided a solid and organize display to press Paris talented attackers with their effective pressing and work ethic in denying spaces at P.S.G build-up passing behind midfield line. Ibrahimovich had to drop a bit deeper to ignite essential positions to link forward play, while Lucas and Javier Pastore’s highly fluid plays at wings that usually spark crafty combination moves once the midfield started to open up space for two flashy wingers, mostly were limited to constant short exchanges away from Chelsea’s box due to energetic back-tracking runs of Pedro on the right and even Joe Willian on the other side with aim of supporting their formidable back four task of marking the open runs and becoming more static to read Parisian change of play centrally and Ivanovich particularly was so sharp to that idea with his timely tackle and man-marking along with Gary Cahil quick reactions to win challenges in some occasions against Ibrahimovich impressively. the fact Marco Verrati and Thiago Motta role as versatile central midfielders to monitor holding area for opening linked up passes from deep only indicated to their initial attempt to control the possession in the midfield; virtually for a brief evidence of their intention to provide break-through spaces for their attackers to run freely, which seemed to be mainly lacked in operating, according to mobility of Chelsea’s resiliency to press good enough in keeping their defensive transition more balance and effective with frequently six players to defend with addition of two wingers to their back line with aim to limit wide strikers Di Maria and Lucas when they attempted to interchange with Ibrahimovich to get behind or linking up with their full back to push high, so three men dimension of Verrati, Thiago Motta and Blais Matiudi in midfield remained deep with little chance to join forward. strategically, Chelsea pressing and energetic defensive play had reduced Parisian’s efficient change of pace to penetrate high up the pitch, while offering Eden Hazard more open run to switch across the midfield to ignite play in attacking transition to provide a bit possession when Willian and Pedro would joining him on the flanks more eagerly for some crafty combination to play Diego Costa, even brazilian striker would have drop deep to put pressure on P.S.G midfield tirelessly. Fabregas then would became as central holding mid in attacking transition to link up passes with Belgian to drive up three attackers, they indeed came really close to score in the half hour mark after Hazard rhythmic short interchange with Pedro turned for Baba Rahma overlap on the left as his cross was headed by unmarked Costa only to hit the bar after Kevin Trapp narrow save attempt. a flash of creativity was the answer to break Chelsea’s press and it was provided by Lucas in the 38th min en rout to host opener. the Brazilian played a neat touch in midfield to beat John Obi Mikel and streaming forward with pace before being fouled behind the box, Ibrahimovich smashed his low-range free-kick that deflected off the Obi Mikel to lead the host with a momentum they desperately needed under pressure. however visitor’s determination to play and go forward earned them an equalizer before interval and guess through who? Obi Mikel, off the Azpilicueta’s corner from right, Costa flicked a fine header to wave off both Ibrahimovich and Motta to path of Nigerian to hook the first touch and fire it into the near post, sending their bench flying through their deserved performance. the second half the scenario rapidly changed with french side more ambitiously tend to possess and slowly enhanced their mobility to win spaces and pushing english to their back foot. in the 51 minutes a short exchanges played to Di Maria and his fiercely beautiful long-range effort only was brilliantly saved by Courtois over the bar. Lauren Blanc men became more energetic to their possession effort in opening off the ball runs to quick link up passes in midfield with more mobility to spark delightful pace to combine more fiercely on the flanks which caused visitor’s compact pressing effort to become sluggish in tracking Di Maria, Lucas and Matiudi rhythmic play in drifting centrally and freeing Ibra over the defense, largely disconnected Chelsea’s midfield and especially causing Hazard to combine with wide players, while Fabregas became entirely disappeared in midfield. Di Maria flying on the left to sent in an in swing cross with Ibra’s pressuring defense led Matiudi to hit the rebound but his attempt was double blocked by Ivanovich and Cahill to palm away the danger. the introduction of Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani sparked more flash of creativity and game winning scenario. Pastore deployment into central attacking play-maker with his skills had Di Maria the penetrative run out wide to interchange with Pastore and linking up with Ibrahimovich fine touches to crafty over-laps and spaces over Chelsea’s full backs, while Swdish switching the run with Cavani to get behind, and the Uruguayan remarkably provided an inspiration to their end-product tactic. a fine short exchange in gap of central position, Pastore turning to dink a great ball over head of defense for Cavani’s darting run and instinctive vision with a pure finishing sealed P.S.G 2-1 win.
verdict Chelsea: the game full of enthusiasm and tactical purpose in very close contest. two different half from Chelsea, they had shown tremendous work ethic and defensive resiliency to press their host and also imposed a fine attacking play, to large extent limiting their opponent’s talented attack from creating chances and tied it at the end of first half. but they eventually struggle to keep up with P.S.G fluidity and pace of attack, which reflected a coaching decision ability of Blanc in outclassing Hiddink in further evidence of tactical assessment.
verdict Paris. St. Germain: despite their tendency to possess the game with their technical players as it was expected, their approach in fact visualized their brand of football necessarily, while they rather under-performed to dictate their attacking plan until Ibra’s opener, but they shortly became exposed defensively for coinciding equalizer. at Stamford Bridge in three weeks, they must be at their best level of concentration defensively when facing Blue’s extremely physical and intense pressure to survive the quarter-final. with many talented individual at their disposal, their tactical adaptation to change the game with attacking flexibility will consider this french side as a true title favorite on the road ahead if they managed to be more sharper.
prediction: the fact Chelsea is a very experienced side with fantastic characteristics in this competition, we could always expect lots of intriguing patterns coming from them in many circumstances. they went through some level of disaster this season which shockingly ended up in sacking Jose Mourinho, but since the arrival of Hiddink as a new coach, a decent communicative approach and sight of relief returned to the club, but the team still is challenging during this touch transition era, arguably for lack of real deft at the heart of squad to regain their needed reputations, a critical performances from individual players and the one to inspire them, a doubt over Hazard’s future that will hugely reflect the success of the team and visually a missing spirit factor that hinted them unlike how it thrilled the previous generation of great players like John Terry and Drogba. with Paris St. Germain proving more quality and ambition to seek a glory at their disposal and with considerable facts about the prospect of both team’s chance to shin this season and even after this interesting performance from Blues, P.S.G will be favorite to go through.