Thursday 22 March 2018

PSG vs Chelsea combined XI: Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Diego Costa? John Terry or David Luiz?

Two of these four failed to make the team
Two of these four failed to make the team

Tom Sheen

Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea clash tonight in the first leg of the Champions League last-16.

Both sides have spent huge amounts of money in recent years to reach the elite of European football, bringing in some of the best players in the world to ply their trade in west London and the French capital.

But who has spent their money more wisely?

We take a look at the two likely starting XIs and put them together to create one team.

With PSG manager Laurent Blanc having up to seven players possibly missing for this match, the Blues will be confident of getting a win at the Parc des Princes tonight.

The team has been selected based on the below predicted line-ups, in a 4-3-3 formation to reflect what the two managers are most likely to do.

PSG: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell; Matuidi, Rabiot, Verratti; Lavezzi, Cavani, Ibrahimovic.

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Hazard, Costa

Here's our combined XI:

GK: Thibaut Courtois

This isn't even a selection between the PSG and Chelsea goalkeepers - it's a selection between the Chelsea No 1 and No 2.

PSG would agree as they have courted both to replace Salvatore Sirigu in recent months.

Jose Mourinho looks likely to select Thibaut Courtois, who has been shaky in recent weeks. Petr Cech probably deserved to keep his place.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea in action during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final second leg between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

RB: Branislav Ivanovic

The Serbian is the best at his position in the Premier League and one could make a convincing argument that he is the best in world football.

Rarely beaten, he also carries a good attacking threat as a crosser and from set-pieces. Gregory van der Wiel is pretty much a winger playing in defence, he relies way too much on his pace to get him out of trouble - Eden Hazard will be looking forward to facing him.

Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park on February 7, 2015 in Birmingham

CB: Thiago Silva

The Brazil captain, named to the Uefa Team of the Year, is one of the premier defenders in world football; Brazil would not have lost to Germany 7-1 in the World Cup with him in the side.

Kurt Zouma - who is likely to start ahead of Gary Cahill - has massive potential but this isn't a contest.

Life hasn't been a bed of roses for Thiago Silva

CB: John Terry

David Luiz may come with the £50million price-tag but Chelsea fans will know his (and John Terry's) true value as a centre-back.

This is an easy decision, Luiz may look Hollywood when he blazes about the pitch, but he's not a good defender. Chelsea were laughing all the way to the bank in the summer.

Chelsea captain John Terry is eyeing four trophies this season

LB: Cesar Azpilicueta

Has looked slightly ragged in recent weeks but one of the best full-backs in world football. Maxwell, now 33, is serviceable in defence and attack but will be one of the players Chelsea will look to expose.

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta (L) fights for the ball with Watford's Fernando Forestieri during their FA Cup third round soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London, January 4, 2015. REUTERS/Philip Brown (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

CM: Nemanja Matic

Bringing the giant Serbian back to the club last January was a masterstroke by Mourinho. Matic is strong in the tackle, classy on the ball and reads the game better than most.

Adrian Rabiot, who will likely play with Cabaye and Motta both out, is a hugely talented teenager but has some way to go.

SOCCER Che_158.jpg
Chelsea's Nemanja Matic (right) and Manchester City's David Silva (left) battle for the ball

CM: Blaise Matuidi

The energetic midfielder will be absolutely key for Laurent Blanc's team, given their injuries. Matuidi, who drives the team forward, edges in front of Ramires. He will have his work cut out keeping his eye on Fabregas.

Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) celebrates with Blaise Matuidi after scoring the equaliser against Barcelona

CM: Cesc Fabregas

The Spanish maestro has a slight illness and is short of match fitness, but is better than anything PSG are able to field in the middle. Marco Verratti is an exciting young player but has a long way to go to reach Fabregas' level.

Cesc Fabregas is on course to break the Premier League record for the number of assists in a season

RW: Willian

The Brazilian has a 'little problem' according to Jose Mourinho, but the Portuguese trusts the winger in the biggest matches. His propensity to work hard and help his full-back mean he is a sure pick over new signing Juan Cuadrado. Ezequiel Lavezzi has struggled this season and would probably not be playing but for injury to Lucas Moura.

Willian of Chelsea scores against Everton

LW: Eden Hazard

An easy choice and one that both managers would surely agree on. PSG are huge admirers of the Belgian winger and have constantly been linked with him in the last couple of seasons. Edinson Cavani is a talented player but does not seem to fit at PSG and doesn't always produce in the the biggest matches.

Eden Hazard has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

A tough decision picking the Swede over Diego Costa, who himself has enjoyed a stellar season. In real life neither club would swap their striker for the other, but Zlatan nudges slightly ahead on current form. Costa hasn't played in three matches and has not scored in five Champions League games this season.

Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish midfielder Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts after scoring during the French Ligue Cup football match between Saint-Etienne (ASSE) and Paris Saint-Germain

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