Basel vs. PSG: Les Parisiens look to seal round of 16 spot

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PSG can seal their spot in the Champions League round of 16 with a win against Basel at St. Jakob Park on Tuesday evening.

Les Parisiens and Arsenal are both joint-tied at the top of Group A with seven points. Then again, when their quartet was announced, everyone predicted that the French and English powerhouses would qualify without much fuss. Without sounding disrespectful to Basel, the Swiss champions were truly up against it, and now are surely hoping to simply finish in third and drop down into the Europa League. And predictably, Eastern European outfit Ludogorets sit at the bottom of their group.

So, with that in mind, the two teams set to qualify are pretty much written in stone. It’s just a matter of who finishes top and who will have to face one of the top-placed sides from another group. Still, despite being relatively successful thus far, PSG boss Unai Emery is not without criticism. PSG currently sit in third spot in Ligue 1, and have appeared to be a far cry from the side that dominated last term. Having failed to clear the quarter-finals stage in the past few Champions League tournaments, Emery will naturally be under great pressure to try to overcome that hurdle.

The departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has weighed heavily on the side. Although Edinson Cavani has been quite solid – the Uruguayan has scored in every single Champions League match so far – not everyone is unfortunately 100 per cent sold on the ex-Napoli man. It is really unfortunate as he is slowly proving to be more than an apt replacement for the big Swede. That being said, Les Parisiens are not where they want to be in the league and will be counting on him to keep up the good work as this campaign progresses.

As for Basel, they will indeed face a titanic task on Tuesday. They are winless in their past seven Champions League ties, but interestingly enough, have only lost once to French opposition on home turf. With just one point earned, they are already in danger of an early exit. They’ve also scored the fewest goals out of any side in their quartet, but there is the Europa League, as noted before. Still, they have conceded just six times in ten Champions League appearances at home, but will need to really play the game of their lives in order to stop a PSG side determined to book their round of 16 spot as soon as possible.

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.