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    • #5903
      Anonymous
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      The Champions League Round of 16 often has some disappointing matchups in it as it builds up to a more dramatic quarterfinal round, but this year there are some tremendous pairings. The biggest of them all might be Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain, a tie that kicks off in the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

      Both teams have had their struggles this season — both are in second place in their respective leagues, and both have had long injury woes and stretches of outright bad form. Barcelona’s form has improved of late, though, and they’ve finally started to look something like the team they’re supposed to be, while PSG have still found themselves unable to catch Monaco in the Ligue 1 standings.

      Of course, Paris Saint-Germain will be leaning heavily on history in this tie — while they’ve never fared well against Barcelona in the Champions League, they’ve also never lost a Round of 16 tie. There’s a first time for everything, but PSG will be hoping to avoid creating that particular historical precedent just yet — and while it will take a massive step up in form for them to topple Barcelona in the Round of 16, if they get off to a strong start in the first leg of the tie and hold onto their momentum then they certainly have the talent it would take to pull it off.

      But Barcelona are Barcelona, and that means that it’s unlikely we see an upset — but the possibility is there, and the hope for it exists. Now we just have to wait to see the outcome.

      Team news
      Barcelona have a trio of injuries that could wind up hurting them. Javier Mascherano will be missing off the back line because of injury, while the valuable presence of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal on the bench will also be missing thanks to injuries of their own — depriving Barcelona of valuable versatility late in the game. Fortunately, all of their attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Neymar will be available as they aim to terrorize PSG’s defense.

      That will be problematic for Paris Saint-Germain, who are without key defender Thiago Silva thanks to injury. Midfield shield Thiago Motta will be out as well with a suspension — but depending on who you ask, that could be more of a blessing than a curse.

      Projected lineups (left to right)
      Paris Saint-Germain (4-3-3): Kevin Trapp; Maxwell, Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Serge Aurier; Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot, Marco Verratti; Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Lucas

      Barcelona (4-3-3):
      Marc-André Ter Stegen; Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto; Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić; Neymar, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi

    • #9637
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      I see a keenly contested match today. Unai Emery knows Barca pretty well this surely would not be a cakewalk for them. That said, Emery's record against Barca has been quite underwhelming. If Barca are in the mood today,  Psg stand no chance. But their tendency to be inconsistent this season may be their undoing.

    • #9638
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      For some reason, Barca often struggle against teams that press them aggressively.  I see a similar scenario playing out tonight. Cavani's form would be crucial in swinging this tie in PsG's favor. However, more often than not, he always seems to be the graveyard of chances with his incomprehensibly mind-blowing misses. Let's hope that's not the case tonight.

    • #9639
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      For some reason, Barca often struggle against teams that press them aggressively.  I see a similar scenario playing out tonight. Cavani's form would be crucial in swinging this tie in PsG's favor. However, more often than not, he always seems to be the graveyard of chances with his incomprehensibly mind-blowing misses. Let's hope that's not the case tonight.

      Don't think Barca will allow PSG to roll over them with their aggressive pressing. It behoves on Barca's midfield unit and the attackers to ensure pressing is matched for pressing. With the absence of Ibra, they lack that vital element of danger and belief. With Silva out, Barca's famed frontline should have a more facile attempt at breaching PSG's backline. I see a tight victory for Barca.

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