Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to improve their record against the Catalans when they host FC Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Paris Saint-Germain host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday with their Spanish coach Unai Emery desperate to improve his awful personal record against the Catalans.
Emery was brought to the French capital last year as the successor to Laurent Blanc in order to help take PSG to the next level in Europe after four consecutive quarter-final exits in the Champions League.
Emery, the former Sevilla boss, has come up against Barcelona 23 times in his coaching career and won just once, in La Liga last season.
PSG and Barca have faced each other 6 times in the Champions League, four times in Knockout matches and twice in the group stage.
Two years ago, Barcelona humbled PSG 3-1 in Paris in the first leg of their quarter-final tie when the French champions were without talismanic forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Verratti, and saw captain Thiago Silva limp off the pitch after 21 minutes.
Barca won the return 2-0 to eliminate PSG for the second time in three years at the same stage of Europe’s premium club competition.
Good Form for Both Sides
But there is a new-found confidence at the Parc des Princes after a fine start to 2017 which has seen them win 10 and draw one of their last 11 games in all competitions.
“We believe in ourselves and this game comes at a good time for us. ” PSG’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti said after Friday’s 3-0 win at Bordeaux.
The French champions have beaten Barcelona in the recent past, claiming a 3-2 win in the group stage in September 2014. They are also a formidable opposition at the Parc des Princes, having lost just once there in Europe in the last decade.
For PSG’s prolific striker Edinson Cavani, the tie is one to savour as he comes up against Uruguay team-mate Luis Suarez. The pair, who both hail from the same town, Salto, have been among the most in-form forwards in Europe this season with Cavani netting 33 times for PSG and Suarez 25 times for Barca.
Barcelona travel to France buoyed by a crushing 6-0 win at Alaves in La Liga at the weekend in which Luis Suarez scored twice.That result means Luis Enrique’s side have now lost just once in 22 games.
Emery will be unable to utilise veteran midfielder Thiago Motta, another ex-Barcelona player, due to suspension. Meanwhile, one winger from Angel Di Maria, Lucas Moura and January signing Julian Draxler will have to settle for a place on the bench.
Javier Mascherano and Arda Turan will be out for the Catalans. Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets will likely start after their injury layoffs. Aleix Vidal suffered a major blow when he suffered an ankle injury in the Alaves win that ruled him out for the entire season.
PSG – Trapp (GK), Kurzawa, Marquinhos, Silva, Meunier, Matuidi, Veratti, Rabiot, Veratti, Di Maria, Lucas Moura, Cavani
Barcelona – Ter Stegen (GK), Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic, Neymar, Messi, Suarez