Five match-ups Chelsea need to win versus PSG

Chelsea face a challenging trip to the Parc des Princes this evening - take a look at five opponents they need to keep a careful eye on.

Chelsea kick off the first leg of their UEFA Champions League second round tie at the Parc des Princes this evening versus the runaway French Ligue 1 leaders.

Paris Saint-Germain have a 24-point lead at the top in France and were able to play in second gear during their 0-0 draw at home to Lille over the weekend.

The French champions eliminated Chelsea at this stage last season on away goals despite the Blues going on to be Premier League champions and playing 90 minutes of the second leg with an additional player following the controversial sending off of Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Guus Hiddink is unbeaten in all 11 games in all competitions since he was appointed Chelsea interim manager in late December, but this arguably his toughest match to-date with PSG many people's favourites heading into the tie.

Here are five matchups that Chelsea will need to get the better of if they're to come away with a result in the first leg.

Ángel Di María vs César Azpilicueta

Paris Saint-Germain's left winger is showing the kind of form he did two seasons ago when he helped Real Madrid win La Decima. A failed season with Manchester United in between can be put down to injuries and Louis van Gaal's tactics, but make no mistake about it, Ángel Di María can certainly be the difference maker for the French side.

The Argentine winger has scored nine goals and assisted a further 10 in only 20 Ligue 1 appearances (17 starts) this season and scored three goals in his six Champions League group stage matches (5 starts) that included Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk.

César Azpilicueta moved to right-back in a makeshift defence over the weekend after John Terry went off and the Spaniard should start this evening's match there. Whilst many may feel that's better for Chelsea than Branislav Ivanović, Azpilicueta is going to be in for a long night. Expect Willian to play very defensive and give his teammate a lot of help. Di María is both a goal threat and delivers a wicked cross from out wide.

Zlatan Ibrahimović vs Branislav Ivanović/Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill started the weekend's 5-1 victory over Newcastle following Kurt Zouma's serious knee injury picked up the week before, and Branislav Ivanović finished the match alongside the England international following the injury picked up by John Terry over the weekend.

Terry misses the trip to France meaning that Chelsea have an inexperienced partnership there. Gary Cahill is not the best man-marker and Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimović does like to find open space.  The Swede was involved in more goals than any other PSG player in the group stage (2 goals, 2 assists).

On paper, it's a very bad matchup for Chelsea with Ivanović struggling defensively for large parts of these season as it is. Not to mention, if the wide players cut inside the full-backs they can drag the Blues centre-backs out of position too.

Lucas Moura vs Baba Rahman

César Azpilicueta moving back to right-back means Baba Rahman will have to start down the left as Chelsea have no other options. The youngster had a solid season with FC Augsburg in 2014-15 but still remains very raw and inexperienced.

The Ghanian international has pace on his side and he'll need it up against Brazilian Lucas Moura. However, the PSG playmaker can certainly run with the ball and should give the 21-year-old left-back a torrid time down there. Lucas likes to dribble the ball inside and is successful at doing it.

Lucas will also fire low balls and good crosses into the box for the likes of Ibrahimović to attack.  Baba Rahman has only played 298 minutes of Premier League football this season, though did play in half of their group stage matches.

Blaise Matuidi vs John Obi Mikel

Guus Hiddink likes his Nigerian international but John Obi Mikel needs to step up his game at the Parc des Princes if Chelsea are to have a chance this evening. Opposite him is the energetic Blaise Matuidi who links defence to attack for PSG.

Matuidi breaks up opposition play all over the park, likes to bring the ball forward, retains possession well and will occasionally set up chances for his teammates. John Obi Mikel cannot afford to be beat by the French international as that will leave the makeshift Chelsea defence open with three attacking players in front of him to pick out.

It's questionable how much possession Chelsea will have this evening but John Obi Mikel will be an important part of that, and whilst he has been fairly good in retaining possession for his side domestically, he's going to be pressed by the likes of Matuidi and Marco Verratti and will really need to avoid making misplaced passes inside his own half.  Mikel has only played 66 minutes of Champions League football so far this season.

Marco Verratti vs Cesc Fàbregas

One player who likes to run the show in the middle of the pitch is Paris Saint-Germain's young Italian, Marco Verratti. Should Chelsea give him time on the ball this evening they'll be asking for their own downfall.

A big problem Guus Hiddink has on his hands is that Nemanja Matić is suspended and Ramires was sold in the summer. Therefore we shall see Cesc Fàbregas alongside Mikel in front of the back four. The Spaniard will have to do his best defensively against a similar player in that Verratti likes to dictate the tempo in the middle of the park.  The Italian completed 95% of his passes in his four group stage appearances.

Marco Verratti isn't a player who gets heavily involved in the goals but he will wear the opposition out with his passing and through balls. He's probably a safe bet to see the most touches this evening and it will be Fàbregas' job to make sure none of them are detrimental to the English side.

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