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Barcelona and PSG are probably responsible for the most exhilarating game of football we’ve seen this century. That was when the mighty Catalan outfit came back to steal an advance in this very competition after being four goals behind on aggregate.
That 6-1 and all the glamour that came with it was only four years ago, but it feels like a lifetime since we watched it unfold. Part of that is because of global events, but the other part is because, despite clearly possessing the best squads in their respective divisions, neither are top of their domestic leagues.
Tuesday 20:00 – Barcelona v PSG
BT Sport 3
Right now, Barcelona are a bucketload of points off Atletico Madrid and PSG sit behind Lille. I might check and see if there’s any midweek League Two games on in East Sussex – save us the boredom. But, in all seriousness, the Champions League never truly kicks off until we reach the knockout stages and while the lazy narrative leads you to look at league tables, it’s worth noting something.
These sides combined have won 13 of their last 14 league games, outscoring opponents 32-7 in those matches. Something tells me we should be just fine for Tuesday night entertainment somehow. Here are three punts to accompany your viewing pleasure.
It’s worth pointing out that, despite not being at the top of their respective league tables, one thing has been ever-present and remained the same: goals.
Barcelona are still the same entity they always were: netting 49 times in their 22 games – five goals more than any other side in the division have managed. Fifteen of those have come from some bloke called Lionel Messi, too. He has a chance to be good, you’d think.
And much like Barcelona, PSG are also five goals ahead of anyone else in their division – scoring 57 times in their 25 Ligue 1 games this season. Mbappe? The top scorer in the league with 16. We might be in unprecedented times as all of our governments keep telling us, but some things will always remain the same.
It has not been unlike Barcelona to fall behind this season. Especially of late. And we can pull a few examples for you over the last six weeks or so. Mouctar Diakhaby netted first for Valencia in December. Kike opened the scoring for Eibar only a few weeks later. Barca fell behind to an Inaki Williams goal in early January before Betis struck first again last week.
It’s become a trend – Barca doing it the hard way, while up to now, we’ve associated them with dominating games time and time again regardless of the opposition. This won’t be easy.
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In my eyes, the only player on the planet that’s now better than Kylian Mbappe is lining out in front of him in this game. His progression from shy, nimble wide player to all-round, physical and immensely talented finisher has been a joy to behold and it won’t surprise me one bit to see him stake his claim as the world’s best at the home of the placeholder.
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