PSG v Real Madrid: PSG missing Neymar, but Real have injury worries too4 min read
Both sides have selection dilemmas
The sports pages have, somewhat unsurprisingly, been dominated by Neymar’s injury and the ‘will he, won’t he’ argument as to whether he’ll line up against Real Madrid.
That was finally put to bed at the back end of last week, and it has conveniently been overlooked that Los Blancos have injury worries of their own.
Both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been integral to Real’s recent successes, and without the pairing in midfield, the visitors will be light in that area. It would be a huge surprise if Unai Emery doesn’t then instruct his PSG side to get at Real centrally as often as possible.
Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Llorente would likely deputise again, but the former showed he still has some way to go to be up to Madrid’s level against Barcelona.
He’s acquitted himself reasonably well in other games but this is another challenge not unlike El Clasico, and where all the pressure is on Real. They simply have to win.
Can Di Maria haunt Real?
PSG now have to mount an improbable comeback of their own.
Neymar’s absence does at least afford Angel di Maria the opportunity to play against his old side, and he has been in fine form in 2018 with 11 goals in 11 games.
Wouldn’t the fickle hand of football fate decree that if the Parisiens were to progress, then the Argentinian would be the one to inflict the damage?!
Cristiano Ronaldo has been rested again recently, just as in 2016/17, to ensure that he is at his optimum level for these Champions League nights.
Knowing that another potential Ballon d’Or is on the line, he more than anyone will be doing his level best to add to his record breaking European tally.
Cavani v Ramos looks like a key duel
With Marquinhos potentially out too, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will know that Thiago Silva is a weak link at the back for PSG and will more than likely try to isolate him.
They’ll need service from each flank so Kylian Mbappe must do better than at the Bernabeu and restrict Marcelo’s runs forward, whilst also keeping him busy at the right end of the pitch.
The battle of the night will surely be Edinson Cavani against Sergio Ramos. There are goals in this team and Cavani has feasted as much as anyone. Can he be kept out for another 90 minutes?
What’s certain is that he and Mbappe will be fresh and raring to go after being rested for the weekend fixture at Troyes.