Chelsea must target David Luiz to secure Champions League victory

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Chelsea prepare to face Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes in the Champions League last 16 first leg this evening with last year's 3-1 away defeat still fresh in their minds.

When the two sides met at the quarter-final stage last season, Jose Mourinho's team went down to strikes from Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and a David Luiz own goal, which left their hopes of future participation in Europe's elite club competition hanging by a thread.

A 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the return leg secured the Blues passage to the semi-finals thanks to the away goals rule, but the Premier League giants should make lighter work of PSG this time around.

Laurent Blanc has a number of injury concerns ahead of Tuesday's encounter in the French capital, after four first-team regulars picked up knocks in the 2-2 draw with Caen in Ligue 1 at the weekend.

Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos and Serge Aurier were all withdrawn early while Lucas Moura suffered a groin problem that will rule him out of the game. Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi are also doubtful.

However, despite the probable presence of a number of stand-in stars, the one player that Chelsea must target specifically if they want to secure victory over the French giants this evening is a man that Mourinho and his team know very well from a previous spell in west London.

Twelve months ago Luiz was running out as a Chelsea player in Paris, but tonight he'll be tasked with keeping his former club at bay alongside Brazil international team-mate Thiago Silva.

The South American's swashbuckling style of play has previously prompted criticism from a number of pundits, and probably played a part in Mourinho's decision to cash-in on the 27-year-old last summer.


His regular marauding runs from the middle of defence are the polar-opposite of the Portuguese coach's traditional tactics that prioritises defensive discipline and organisation while patiently picking off opponents in attack.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with Luiz's adventurous approach, but that infamous flamboyance will not be lost on the Chelsea boss in the build-up to tonight's game.

With Diego Costa returning from suspension and available for selection, he'll be tasked with exploiting the gaps in PSG's back line that the former Blues fans' favourite will inevitably leave behind, and the attacking support cast of Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar will also have a decisive role to play.

"If I score against Chelsea I won't celebrate out of respect, but I will be happy," - David Luiz

Luiz is well aware of the threat that his old team will pose after talking them up during the pre-match press conference, claiming that the arrival of players like Costa and Cesc Fabregas - who is a doubt for tonight because of flu - means they are better prepared to repeat the European Cup winning feat of 2012 this year.

However, he remains hopeful that his determination will help drive his current club to success, as he looks to prove a point to Chelsea that they were wrong to sell him to PSG, albeit for a mouthwatering £50 million fee.

"They had three players join the club with amazing quality. For me they are stronger than last year," he affirmed. "I want to qualify, like I qualified last year, but I want to qualify for PSG.

"If I score against Chelsea I won't celebrate out of respect, but I will be happy."


On paper the stats certainly prove that Luiz would have a right to feel aggrieved, considering the fact he has outperformed all three of Chelsea's other centre-backs in terms of tackles, interceptions and duels won.

That doesn't take into account the fact that the South American stopper is now playing in a significantly inferior division, though, with Ligue 1 unable to rival the increasingly competitive Premier League.

Mourinho will still be comfortable in the knowledge that Chelsea got great money from the sale of Luiz, and could even use his departure to their advantage by helping advance to the next round of the knockout tournament this year.

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UEFA Champions League
David Luiz
Paris Saint-Germain

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