Champions League Picks: PSG To Prevail In Low-Scoring Affair vs. Chelsea

Martin Green

Monday, February 15, 2016 12:10 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 12:10 PM GMT

PSG will relish a more serious test of their mettle in the Champions League. Chelsea will certainly provide that, but who will be worthy of our soccer picks for the match?

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Free Champions League Pick: PSG -150; Under 4.5 Goals
Best Line Offered: at Bet365

 

Paris St. Germain
PSG are breaking all sorts of Ligue 1 records this year as they have opened up a phenomenal 24-point lead with a terrifying record of 22 wins, three draws and zero defeats. Having been completely dominant domestically, they will relish a more serious test of their mettle in the Champions League. Chelsea will certainly provide that, but PSG should still be expected to win this home tie and go on to progress to the quarter-finals.

The prospect of going an entire season unbeaten is fast becoming a certainty for PSG this season. They have dominated Ligue 1 ever since they were taken over by billionaire Arabs with a penchant for throwing cash at Europe’s best players, but this season they have really stepped up several gears as their rivals have fallen away. The peerless Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in characteristically imperious form up front, notching 21 goals in 25 games. But all over the side they have been near-perfect, with Thiago Silva dominant at the back and Thiago Motta running things in midfield. Because they are so far ahead of their rivals, manager was able to rest his star players – Ibrahimovic, Silva, Motta, Maxwell and Ezequiel Lavezzi – in their last game ahead of this mouth-watering Champions League clash.

 

Chelsea FC
Chelsea were also able to rest players and take few risks in their last league game, but for entirely different reasons. The west London side have endured a dire season, sitting in 13th, 23 points off the pace. But with a seven-point cushion above the relegation zone, they were able to concentrate fully on the upcoming Champions League game. They are well behind the top four Champions League spots in the Premiership, and the only realistic way for them to qualify for next season’s Champions League is to win it. That may be a daunting task, but they have history: the only other time they finished outside the top four in recent years was in 2012, when they finished sixth. That year they won the Champions League, thus qualifying as holders.

But this current Chelsea side is not up to the standard of the 2012 team. Where they were imperious in winning the Premiership last season, they have been woeful this time around, with key players from Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic to Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas badly flopping. They actually won their Champions League group, but they were lucky to get such an easy draw. They were pitted against Dynamo Kiev, who finished second, a misfiring Porto and minnows Maccabi Tel Aviv, who finished with zero points. Despite losing to Porto and drawing with Kiev they finished on top, but got the draw that none of the group winners would have fancied. Of all the second placed teams, PSG were surely the strongest. PSG were handed a tough group featuring an exceptionally good Real Madrid and wildcards in the form of Shakhtar Donetsk. PSG drew 0-0 at home with Real and lost 1-0 at the Bernebeu, but won all four other games with ease to finish in second, behind Real but with the same number of points as Chelsea.

 

Betting Analysis
PSG are understandably odds-on favorites going into this game, best priced at -142 with Bwin. They have won their last 14 games in all competitions and are playing very well indeed. Chelsea have tightened things up after sacking Jose Mourinho and bringing in Guus Hiddink as interim manager, but they are still short of confidence. They are rank outsiders here, priced at +500 with BetVictor. That is an astonishingly high price for the champions of England against the champions of France, but it is indicative of how poor Chelsea have been this season and how excellent PSG have been. The draw is +275 with Bet Victor, but it would take a brave punter to go against PSG at the moment. PSG may also have a psychological advantage, having knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League at this exact stage last season.

While you would expect PSG to prevail, it is unlikely to be an exceptionally high-scoring game. Chelsea will be disciplined, sit back, soak up pressure and try to hit PSG on the counter-attack. PSG are in better form, but on their day, Chelsea are still a very good side with a serious point to prove, so you would not expect them to be thrashed. That makes it worth getting better value for your soccer picks by backing PSG to win and there to be under 4.5 goals, which is priced at -125 in the soccer odds boards with Stan James. Or be even bolder and go for PSG and under 3.5 goals, which is +110 with Stan James.

Ibrahimovic is a player that absolutely loves the big stage and will relish leading the line for PSG in a match that millions of people around the world will be watching. William Hill is offering +120 on him to score at any time in this match, which is a great price considering Coral is offering -137.5. If you want better odds, back him to score first at +333 with William Hill

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