You are here

PSG vs Chelsea – Benfica vs Zenit

2332567_w3Uefa Champions League last 16 – LIVE

Everything may be rosy in PSG's garden on the field, but off the pitch things are far from harmonious in the French capital. Serge Aurier is out of tonight's game after being suspended by the club following homophobic comments made regarding a number of club figures including manager Laurent Blanc. The Frenchman has reacted angrily to the comments which came via a social media post and it has worked to derail the club's preparations for what is undoubtedly their biggest game of the season.

PSG take an awesome recent record with them into this tie. The league the Ligue 1 table by 24 points and could even have the retention of their domestic title sewed up by the time the second comes around in March. The club from the French capital have also lost just one of their last 49 home games in all competitions. Hell of a challenge for Chelsea tonight.

When PSG were paired with Chelsea in December, you could have been forgiven for thinking the French club had been given a free route into the last eight. The reality is since the departure of Jose Mourinho, the Blues are a vastly different proposition. Unbeaten since Guus Hiddink was appointed as interim boss, Chelsea have improved vastly of late but a series of recent injuries has derailed their hopes. John Terry misses out through injury and you wonder how much that might take its tole.

In Portugal meanwhile, it is the return of Andre Villas-Boas as Zenit take on Benfica. The former FC Porto boss is expecting a rough reception as his side play their first team since December. They return to domestic cup action in the form of the Russian Cup in 10 days time but will they be undercooked come their return to competitive action. Warm weather training camps will only assist them so much.

There is plenty of subtext to accompany the build-up to this last 16 tie in the Champions League, with PSG and Chelsea colliding for a third straight season in the knock-out phase. Last season's first leg in Paris was overshadowed by the conduct of a group of Chelsea supporters who pushed a black man off a metro train. The French champions went through on away goals and are the favourites tonight to build the foundations for a second straight victory.

Not a huge amount of surprises from that PSG team. Marco Veratti does make it for the hosts while Oscar misses out for Chelsea. Baba Rahman starts at left-back in place of John Terry.

Benfica are without defender Luisao and Pedro Rebocho due to an ankle problem. Serbia international Ljubomir Fejsa is also a doubt, as is Lisandro López who has a thigh issue.

Zenit are missing four players despite having not played for two months. Viktor Fayzulin has a knee injury while Igor Smolnikov is out too. Vyacheslav Malafeev and Aleksandr Ryazantsev are expected to be absent.

The teams from Paris and Lisbon are on the way and are expected around 6:45pm, but how do we expect our sides to line up?

Starting at the Parc des Princes, PSG are hopeful of recalling both Marco Veratti and Javier Pastore after respective injury problems. Serge Aurier is meanwhile suspended after comments directed towards the club and manager Laurent Blanc made on social media.

For Chelsea, captain John Terry has not travelled due to a hamstring problem while Kurt Zouma is out for the season due to a knee injury. Nemanja Matic is suspended and Radamel Falcao is also out.

After two months away either side of new year, European competition in the form of the Champions League returns to enrich our lives and those of the team who remain in contention for continental glory. Tonight is headlined by the third edition in as many seasons of Paris Saint Germain vs Chelsea. Both teams have one victory each from their previous duels in the knock-out phase so tonight represents the start of something of a decider in the French capital. Tonight's other tie sees Benfica, who have not won a European trophy since 1962 despite eight final appearances in the intervening period, hosting a Zenit side who have not played since their final group game in December due to a break in the Russian Premier League. Team news and updates ahead of the 7:45pm kick-offs on the way.