Paris Saint-Germain FC

Forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani: Ezequiel Lavezzi Is Biggest Threat to Chelsea

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 02:  Ezequiel Lavezzi of PSG scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter final, first leg match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on April 2, 2014 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 3, 2014

On a remarkable evening at the Parc des Princes that ended in a gallus victory for Paris Saint-Germain, there was little room to worry about the perceived poor showings of Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The former played hospital passes and contributed nothing in attack, while the latter disappeared completely following a strong opening quarter, but the team still scored three and hold a two-goal lead going to Stamford Bridge.

What's to worry about?

It was the third prong in PSG's attacking trident that caused the most damage, and for those uninitiated in Ligue 1's finest, he's been doing it since the turn of the year.

Ezequiel "Pocho" Lavezzi tore Chelsea's flanks to shreds, scored a beautiful opening goal inside the first four minutes and ran the Blues defence ragged all game long.

He was instrumental in the early stages of dominance for PSG, moving from side to side and dropping into pockets of space to receive the ball.

Ibrahimovic orchestrated the opening goal by creating an overlap on the left, with Lavezzi darting into the hole Chelsea's deep defensive line vacated.

His clipped left-footed finish sailed into the top corner, with Petr Cech helpless.

Fueled with confidence, the Argentine proceeded to buzz around the visitors' feet, looking to force mistakes. 

Even when he's not finishing with aplomb or off the boil in front of goal, his work-rate can never be called into question.

Michel Euler

Alarm bells began to ring for Jose Mourinho when PSG broke quickly after a spell of pressure from his side and played the first ball out to Lavezzi. He steamed into the opposing half, skinned his marker and fired into the side-netting.

It would become a theme on the night, whether operating from the left, right or central zones. Neither Gary Cahill nor Branislav Ivanovic came close to shutting him out, and with Chelsea shifting resources over to help nullify the Argentine, space was freed up for others to use.

All of a sudden, Blaise Matuidi had more space to surge into. Christophe Jallet also began buccaneering forward from right-back, searing into acres of space.

You can't mark Lavezzi one vs. one, and if you commit men to him, everyone else takes advantage.

PSG's strong finish and late Javier Pastore goal was a product of genuine wear and tear. The Blues defence took a battering for 60 or so minutes in a game which went to and fro.

Forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic's injury, which will likely keep him out of the second leg, and forget Edinson Cavani's potential redemption up front. Lavezzi is the man who can do the damage at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea must find an efficient way of nullifying his play.

  

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