Paris Saint-Germain Set for Trip to Chelsea After Convincing Win over Reims

Owen Morgan@@OwenHMorganContributor IApril 7, 2014

Paris Saint-Germain brushed aside Stade de Reims to edge closer to retaining their Ligue 1 crown, demonstrating that they are still a formidable force without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The talismanic Swedish striker will be missing from Les Parisiens' side for up to a month after he suffered a hamstring injury against Chelsea last week. Despite Ibrahimovic's absence, PSG will still be confident about progressing to the last four of the Champions Leaguesuch is the quality of their squad.

Laurent Blanc made eight changes to his starting XI for the visit of Reims and, although his side were not at their fluent best, they were able to run out convincing 3-0 winners over Hubert Fournier's men.

PSG will face a much sterner test on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge, but will be encouraged by the performance of Edinson Cavani, who was instrumental at the Parc des Princes in Ibrahimovic's absence.

El Matador stood out in the first half. He scored the opening goal of the game and was a dangerous presence in the box throughout. Before scoring, he had a powerful, flicked header saved well at the near post and constantly hassled the Reims defence with his intelligent movement.

His goal came on the stroke of half-time. Gregory van der Wiel swept over an inviting cross and Cavani arrived late at the back post to bundle the ball home.

It was not a goal that will live long in the memory, but it was Cavani's 15th of the season and means he will go into Tuesday's Champions League clash full of confidence. If he can grab a goal at Stamford Bridge, no one will care how scrappy it is as long as it crosses the line.

PSG profited in the first leg against Chelsea from some charitable defending, and Reims were equally obliging at the Parc des Princes.

The unfortunate Aissa Mandi scored two own goals in the second half to hand PSG the victory. The result means Laurent Blanc's side need only two more wins to secure a second consecutive Ligue 1 title.

PSG are clearly the strongest side in French football, but for some, there are still question marks over their status as one of the top clubs in Europe.

Last year, they lacked the squad depth for a successful European campaign, exiting the Champions League in the quarter-finals against Barcelona.

This year however, the squad has both more talent and greater depth.

Cavani adds further strength up front and, in Adrien Rabiot, the club have an extremely exciting prospect. Only just 19, the teenager was instrumental against Reims and could yet play a big part in the final weeks of the season. Unerring in possession and with a great range of passing, it is unsurprising the youngster has attracted attention from top clubs across the continent.

PSG's trip to Chelsea is the biggest match of their season. Indeed, it will define their season.

Win, and they will be rightly considered one of Europe's best sides with a great chance of winning the Champions League. Lose, and despite domestic glory, it will be an unsatisfactory ending to the campaign.

Ibrahimovic may be injured, but PSG still have enough to be confident on the eve of this crucial game.


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