Paris Saint-Germain were able to show exactly why they have been so dominant in Ligue 1, as they ran out 2-1 winners over a determined Chelsea side.
A win is a win, however Les Blues may have hoped for a bigger advantage over their English namesake, and with the tie in the balance, there is much to ponder for Laurent Blanc ahead of the second leg in three weeks time.
The Uruguayan provided a timely reminder to his manager of his qualities with a powerful finish from an acute angle. He hammered home the point by sprinting towards the dugout for his celebration. He won't settle for a spot on the sidelines.
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His playing time has dwindled in recent weeks, and he didn't help matters by not finding the net last weekend against Lille in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence, but the striker is firmly back in his manager’s thoughts.
It's a nice problem for the French manager to have. Given his use of the 4-3-3 formation which has brought much success, there are only three attacking spots up for grabs.
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Ibrahimovic and Angel Di Maria remain undroppable at present, both making valid contributions to the game with a goal and an assist respectively. And although Lucas Moura wasn't on the scoresheet, he was a constant thorn in Chelsea's side. The question is does Cavani start at Stamford Bridge?
Marquinhos right back in the mix
The Brazilian centre-back would not have expected to start Tuesday’s match, and most certainly wouldn’t have seen himself playing at full-back.
However with first choice Serge Aurier suspended from first team duties for his derogatory comments about Ibrahimovic and his manager and Gregory van der Wiel benched, the centre-back stepped up to the plate and comported himself admirably against Eden Hazard.
The Brazilian made great strides as a make-shift full-back last winter while Aurier was competing at the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast. The young defender has been vocal about his lack of playing time, but could find a new home in a position he excelled at last season.
As far as audition’s go, Eden Hazard completely fluffed his lines if he is looking to attract the interest of PSG in the summer. Sounded out as a possible replacement for China-bound Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Belgian winger recently admitted it would be difficult to turn down an approach from the French champions.
Though it may be PSG who turn him down based on his recent performance against them. Barring a few fancy flicks, he didn’t do enough to test make-shift right-back Marquinhos and was eventually hauled off stage in favour of Oscar to much ridicule.
Hazard’s performance on the night was very much in keeping with how he has played for the majority of the season. Having scored a solitary goal from the penalty spot this season in an FA cup tie against MK Dons, his lack of form is more than just a bad patch at this point.
And such form is not in keeping with the copious amounts of money Chelsea are likely to demand for the Belgian.
Can Chelsea overturn the 2-1 deficit in the second leg? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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