PSG v Barcelona: Mbappe to star as hosts get job done

There'll be no remarkable comeback this time as the visitors seek to achieve the impossible on Wednesday night, writes James Eastham...

Neymar remains injury doubt

For PSG, Angel Di Maria expected to start and Neymar stands a chance of being named as a substitute having returned to full training.

The pair sat out PSG's 4-1 first-leg win on February 16. Striker Moise Kean is out while right-back Alessandro Florenzi is a doubt.

For Barcelona, Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto are ruled out.

La Remontada hangs in air

In most instances a 4-1 first-leg lead means the tie is already over but a delicious doubt hangs over this meeting.

Thoughts go back to La Remontada of 2016-17 when Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficit by winning the second leg 6-1 to defeat PSG in arguably the most remarkable comeback of all time.

They say lightning doesn't strike twice and - let's be honest - this particular Barcelona side is unlikely to be able to repeat the feat. The market agrees with us: PSG are 1.03 to go through, with Barca 27.

Yet Paris will not have forgotten the lesson that they were taught four seasons ago and, subconsciously if nothing else, it may inform the way they play at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.

Goals in store at Stade Velodrome

PSG are 2.3 to win on the night, with Barcelona 2.98 and The Draw 4.3.

It's always risky to back a team to win when they don't have to. For that reason, PSG - who can lose by three goals and still go through - are an unappealing selection.

That's not to say Barcelona are a good pick, although they arrive in good form.

The Catalans have won their last four games in all competitions, scoring 10 goals in the process and conceding none.

Ronald Koeman's visiting players know they will have to be at their imperious best going forward while remaining solid at the back to stand any chance of making this tie competitive for even some of the 90 minutes.

They can also point to the fact that they recorded three wins from their three group games away from home in this season's Champions League as proof that they know how to conduct themselves on the road in this competition.

High goals the smart selection

The fact is however that the only way Barcelona will stand any chance of going through is by taking risks.

They need to score four goals to be able to make the impossible happen - and to do that, they'll need to gamble against hosts that have every right to sit back and invite pressure.

In the end, it seems inevitable that this will end up an open game, leading to chances at both ends.

For that reason, going high on the goals markets appears the most logical selection.

'Yes' in the Both teams to Score? market is as short as 1.43, indicating how the market thinks this game will go. Over 2.5 Goals is 1.46.

We are happy to back Over 3.5 Goals, and slightly surprised to find it at an odds-against price of 2.1.

Given how the game should unfold in the second-half, as time runs out and chances are likely to occur more frequently, you ought to get a good run for your money.

Kylian Mbappe the smart pick

In the individual scorers' markets it's difficult to look past Kylian Mbappe.

By scoring on Wednesday night he will become the youngest player in Champions League history to reach the mark of 25 goals. And, by doing so, he would wrest the record away from Lionel Messi at the other end of the field.

Mbappe was sensational in the first leg, scoring a hat-trick as part of a performance that many saw symbolically as the moment he perhaps definitively moved ahead of Messi in the world's greatest player stakes.

Since that night three weeks ago the France international has continued to shine: he's netted seven goals in his last four starts in all competitions, including a brace in PSG's 3-0 French Cup win over Brest at the weekend.

The France international's available at evens to find the net any time in the game, an appealing price given the scoring form he's in.



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