The best thing about February is that the Champions League makes its anticipated return and we’re blessed with a set of fixtures that includes Barcelona v PSG this Tuesday.
Bayern Munich and Manchester City are currently joint outright favourites to win the Champions League at 3/1 or 4.00
Much has been made about Barcelona’s current crises, while alarmingly PSG do not sit on top of Ligue 1 which might be a breath of fresh air for the neutrals.
PSG and Barcelona are both in a crises
Being three points off the top spot will simply not do for a side that packs the likes of Mbappe and Neymar and similar can be said for Barcelona, who are eight points adrift. Both are in third, both are underperforming and facing an identity crisis.
For PSG, new manager Mauricio Pochettino, who was also linked to the Barca job, is at a club where his quest for trophies can be satisfied. With one defeat in their last five, momentum is building. His third game in charge delivered his inaugural trophy in the 2-1 win over Marseille in the Trophee des Champions but another positive run in the Champions League is also on demand. At a club so used to winning domestically, is it time to full focus on Europe, or try a two pronged approach which brings a different set of complications?
PSG are priced at 11/1 or 12.00 to win the UCL
Barcelona have become a little bit of a joke, and it’s not a very funny one this time. Messi’s mess in the summer months did not help, and their presidential campaigns have brought stress and chaos which hardly helped new manager Ronald Koeman. Arguably, he’s only a short term filler at the club due to his style of football. Barcelona’s approach to football works with dynasties. We had the Cruyff era, the Pep Guardiola era and they will await for the Xavi era whenever he’s available for them. Anything in between is not the Barcelona way, so do not expect much from them this season.
Of the two teams, you’d feel PSG are in a more settled phase of their own crises. They’ve opted for a longer-term solution in Poch, and have ambitions to sign Messi in the summer too. Barcelona might be on a hot steak of seven wins, but they seem laboured and almost forced. That is the sign of a good team, but not the sign of a good Barcelona team who normally ooze style and class in their play.
Interestingly this is PSG’s first trip back to the Camp Nou since the famous 6-1 defeat. The good old MSN were on the score sheet that evening, but with just Messi remaining and the Parisions boasting their own “M” in Mbappe, we’re not likely to see another thrashing.
First legs tend to be a little unpredictable as so much more rides on the second leg, but goals in Spain would boost Paris Saint-Germain. The only concern there is that Di Maria is ruled out, while Neymar will face a late fitness test after he limped off during Paris’ win over Caen.
Prediction: Barcelona 0-1 PSG, which is available at 12/1 or 13.00