Paris Saint-Germain are set to take on Barcelona at the Camp Nou to play out the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain are back in action in the UEFA Champions League as they travel to Spain to face Barcelona at the Camp Nou to play out the Round of 16. The fixture will provide the PSG with the opportunity of redemption after they were infamously knocked out from the Champions League in 2016/17 after the 6-1 come-back by Barca on home soil.
This will be Mauricio Pochettino’s first true test since taking over the role following Thomas Tuchel’s sacking. Pochettino’s calibre as a coach will be put to test tonight as the travellers are without several key players including Neymar, Juan Bernat, and Angel di Maria.
On paper, both the sides look evenly matched, however, the Catalans have the upper hand in terms of recent form. While Barcelona are basking in free-scoring spirit, the hosts have to be wary of their unstable defence that has been exploited heavily in the past few fixtures.
Pochettino will have to come up with a plan to trouble Barca’s back-four as notable figures such as Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo are ruled out from the fixture. With that being said, let’s have a look at the potential eleven that the Argentine coach might opt for.
The defensive back four will consist of Layvin Kurzawa and Alessandro Florenzi as the two full-backs who will look to push higher up the field to threaten Ronald Koeman’s leaky defence. Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos are expected to form the centre-back pairing to eliminate Lionel Messi’s threat through the centre.
It has been reported that Marco Verratti has been deemed fit for the fixture. With the Italian returning to action, it is expected that Pochettino would slot the 28-year-old in the heart of the engine room.
In the final third, Kylian Mbappe will drift out to the lift-wing to fill in Neymar Jr’s role. Former Juventus talent, Moise Kean, will play out wide from the right and Mauro Icardi will play through the centre to complete the attacking trident.