Chelsea vs. PSG: Blues Players Who Will Be Key in Overturning 3-1 Deficit

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Chelsea vs. PSG: Blues Players Who Will Be Key in Overturning 3-1 Deficit
Alastair Grant

Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side face an extremely difficult task on Tuesday night. Beaten 3-1 in Paris last week, the Blues will need to play their best football of the year if they hope to overcome Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. 

Only two sides in Champions League history have turned around a 3-1 first leg deficit. However, one of those was a Chelsea squad, led by Robert Di Matteo, just two years ago.

John Terry and Frank Lampard both netted goals in that one. Perhaps the two Chelsea captains have a bit of magic left in them this go around?

Whether it's Terry and Lampard or not, the fact of the matter is this: Certain players will need to step up in order for Chelsea to advance.

 

Matt Dunham

Samuel Eto'o

After suffering a hamstring injury against Arsenal a few weeks back, Eto'o is set to start against PSG. Whether he'll be 100 percent remains to be seen, but Mourinho is surely thrilled to have his most prolific goal-scorer back for a match in which his side desperately needs offense.

The matchup with PSG suits Eto'o. He'll be marked by Alex, and if he's able to exploit the Brazilian defender's lack of pace, opportunities will surely present themselves.

Regardless of whether or not he puts one in the back of the net himself, Eto'o will garner some serious attention from PSG's back line. And the second Thiago Silva comes across the pitch to help Alex stymie an Eto'o attack, space will immediately open up for Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar.

As the following video recapping the action from the first leg points out, Mourinho opted to play five midfielders last time, with Andre Schurrle starting over Fernando Torres and Eto'o (who wasn't fit). 

Having an explosive striker like Eto'o on the pitch in Stamford Bridge will put a level of pressure on PSG's defense that was nonexistent in the first leg.

 

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Petr Cech

This one is fairly self-explanatory, but nonetheless, we mustn't overlook the importance of Peter Cech's role in Tuesday night's match. 

Despite leading after one leg, Paris Saint-Germain's head coach Laurent Blanc has made it clear his side will not be "parking the bus." Blanc's exact words, per Martin Lipton of The Mirror:

We are leading after the first leg, so we have to be the favourites. But we've not come here to let Chelsea dominate us and make us suffer. Our best approach is to create chances. We don't want them dictating the game.

We believe in certain things. Taking the game to the opposition is the best way to win trophies.

So, clearly Cech won't be getting the evening off in this one. He'll be asked to make saves and find open men on quick counter-attacks late in the game, if necessary. 

If he's able to remain solid in net and shut PSG out during regulation, two goals from his Chelsea side will be enough to send it to extra time. That's doable.

If he concedes just one goal, three goals from the Blues will keep them alive. That's also doable.

However, if Cech gives up two goals, scoring five against a PSG side that has given up a total of one in their previous five matches will be a tough task.

Let's not pretend goalkeepers are the ones solely responsibly for giving up goals. They aren't. However, they are solely responsible for making game-changing and momentum-shifting saves.

A few of those from Cech would go a long way in this match.

 

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Frank Lampard & David Luiz

With the speedy Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura lining up on the wings for Paris Saint-Germain, it is vital that Chelsea maintains possession in the center of the pitch.

With Nemanja Matic cup-tied, John Obi Mikel injured and Ramires suspended, that responsibility falls directly into the hands of Lampard and David Luiz.

Not only will dominating the center midfield limit any chances for PSG to capitalize on their outside midfielder's preferred attacking styles, but it will also allow the Blues to deploy their power football. 

In a match where Chelsea needs to score, but at the same time, must limit counter-attack opportunities for PSG, Lampard and Luiz must find a balance between attacking and holding.

 

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Conclusion

With a Premier League title out of their hands, the Champions League presents the best opportunity for Mourinho and his players to bring a trophy home to Stamford Bridge.

And with a fan base that expects success and silverware, there is definitely a great deal of pressure on them to pull off a minor miracle Tuesday night.

Can they do it? 

 

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