The talking point from the first set of games of the round of 16 of the ongoing 2020/21 UEFA Champions League was the shock 4:1 thrashing of Barcelona by Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
The Catalans may not be at their best in recent times but no one envisaged them being battered by a PSG side that have also flattered to deceive in the past, especially in the UCL. And more so, by the fact that Barca opened the scoring on the night.
It’s no more news that PSG are currently being managed by Mauricio Pochettino and thus, seem under the best of hands currently. However, his inexperience in the competition can also make room for possible shocks in the return leg.
I don’t believe that Barcelona can come up with any surprises at Parc Des Princes except to receive another battering from the likes of Kylian Mbappe amongst others.
However, the Ligue 1 side have proven to be one of the most inconsistent and complacent sides in the UEFA Champions League in recent years.
Therefore, Pochettino still has it all to do to ensure that his players are at their best in the return leg regardless of the advantage they currently hold over the Catalans.
Even this season, we saw PSG lose to Man United at the Parc Des Princes in a game where they were overwhelming favorites during the group stage, They had to fight from behind to seal qualification to the next phase of the competition.
The question now is this; Is it beyond PSG to mess up even with the overwhelming advantage they currently have? My answer is NO, it is not! However, they’ll be saved by the fact that Barcelona are no longer lethal as before and have not really been formidable this season.
Regardless, we hope PSG have learned their lessons from the mess-ups in previous knockout stage encounters when they’ve moved into the second leg with an advantage.
Man United were the beneficiaries the last time out as they lost at Old Trafford to PSG but defeated the Parisiens in France and qualified ahead of them.
Barcelona and PSG last met in 2017 in an unforgettable encounter for both sides.
PSG beat them 4 nil at Parc Des Princes in the first leg but went ahead to lose 6:1 at Camp Nou and end up eliminated. The French outfit won’t want a similar occurrence.
Hopefully, their progression to the UCL final last season has given them some elite mentality. We wait to see how the return fixture pans out.
Regardless, with Barca’s inconsistencies this season, I don’t see them mounting any shocks unless PSG are on a charity offering spree.