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Barcelona vs PSG preview - Messi's reckoning

Posted: Feb 16, 2021

Nearly four years on from the infamous La Remontada, FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain renew their on-the-pitch rivalry. And the first leg of their Champions League last-16 battle is at Camp Nou. The game is scheduled to start at 1:30 am IST on Wednesday. Here is Barcelona vs PSG preview.

The two European giants have blown hot and cold this season. Thus, they will need to be at their best to seize the initiative in this fixture.

The Catalan club are in excellent form in La Liga at the moment and their seven consecutive league victories have papered over some very disconcerting moments in knock-out games this season.

The hosts warmed up for this game with a comfortable 5-1 thrashing of Alaves in La Liga. And while PSG also picked up a vital victory in the league at the weekend, the manner of their 2-1 triumph over Nice was not as dominant.

The reigning French champions have troubled Barcelona in the past and will fancy their chances against the Blaugrana this week.

Barcelona vs PSG preview: Head-to-Head

Barca thrashed Alaves 5-1
Barca thrashed Alaves 5-1

The two sides have so far played each other in 11 games with the team from Spain boasting five victories compared to PSG's three, with the other ties ending with the spoils shared.

The last time Barca and Paris met was in the famous 2016/17 UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. The Catalan side became the first – and so far only – side to qualify for the next round following a 4+ goals first-leg margin of defeat (0-4 first leg at Parc des Princes; 6-1 second leg at Camp Nou).

Barcelona have knocked PSG out in each of their last three UEFA Champions League knock-out ties: 2012/13 quarter-finals (3-3 agg. away goals), 2014/15 quarter-finals (5-1 agg.), and 2016/17 round of 16 (6-5 agg.). The only previous time PSG overcame the Catalans in a Champions League knockout tie was in the 1994/95 quarter-finals (3-2 agg.).

Barcelona vs PSG preview: Team News

The Catalans are more likely to be without their best defender in this season Ronald Araujo, as he recuperates from a sprained ankle. Further, Barca will also be without Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, and Gerard Pique who are all yet to recover from their long-term injuries.

PSG will be without Neymar
PSG will be without Neymar

PSG will be without Neymar whose adductor injury has ruled him out of this game while the French champions will be also without Angel di Maria who sustained thigh injury in Le Classique. Doubts also remain over the involvement of Marco Verratti while the possibility of Rafinha returning to Camp Nou is also up in the air due to a muscular problem.

The defensive trio of Colin Dagba, Timothee Pembele and Juan Bernat are also unavailable due to injuries.

Barcelona vs PSG preview: Predicted Lineups

Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Sergino Dest; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Ousmane Dembele, Pedri, Antoine Griezmann; Lionel Messi

Paris Saint-Germain (4-2-3-1): Keylor Navas; Layvin Kurzawa, Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Alessandro Florenzi; Idrissa Gueye, Leandro Paredes; Marco Verratti, Moise Kean, Kylian Mbappe; Mauro Icardi

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Match Prediction

The absences of Neymar and Di Maria are sure to harm PSG's chances of scripting a memorable win in Camp Nou. Coupled with the Catalans being almost unplayable at the moment, we expect the French side could be in for another defeat.

FC Barcelona 3 – 1 Paris Saint-Germain