Published: Ср, Февраля 15, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

'My team is PSG' - Tottenham boss Pochettino still follows Ligue 1 champions

'My team is PSG' - Tottenham boss Pochettino still follows Ligue 1 champions

Former Sevilla boss Emery had only beaten Barcelona once in 23 previous attempts but he was well on his way to number two when Julian Draxler scored on his Champions League debut for PSG, as he did in Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France last month.

PSG finished second in Group A behind Arsenal following their draw against Ludogorets in the final group stage fixture. They trail league leaders Real Madrid by three points, but that margin could stretch to nine if Real win their two games in hand.

After a hard start to the season, punctuated by four league defeats away from home, PSG's players are thriving under Emery and the side is undefeated in the last 11 games - the same as Barcelona. This time a year ago PSG thought they had established themselves as bona fide European giants by beating Chelsea home and away but criticism and mockery for the oil-powered club returned with a vengeance when they flopped in the next round against Manchester City. The other player, that is very important for PSG will not be able to play, again because of the suspension, and that is Thiago Motta, but some people say that it may be a good thing for PSG. That would be a daring ploy, even more so if Emery followed it through by selecting his most aggressive full-backs, Serge Aurier and Layvin Kurzawa, as opposed to the more stable Thomas Meunier and Maxwell.

Barcelona also have injury concerns ahead of this one.

However, much bigger challenges and prizes await with Barca in search of a second treble in three years.

Javier Mascherano (hamstring) is unavailable, while right-back Aleix Vidal could be out for the rest of the season with a badly dislocated ankle.

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Stopping a Barcelona attack that has Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in the lineup is hard enough, but when you have to do that without your best defender, it becomes a whole lot more difficult.

"We are in a good moment", Verratti added.

Top scorer Edinson Cavani, also celebrating his birthday, emphatically drilled home the fourth in the 72nd minute - his 34th goal of a rampant season.

FC Barcelona Expected XI: ter Stegen (GK); Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

Can Messi really be stopped? Anything to nil would be a huge bonus for PSG but it is hard to see Barca not scoring, especially with the confirmed absence of Thiago Silva for PSG.

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