Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain: 5 point preview
Bring out all the supporter hoods and grab yourself a pack of popcorn, as the UEFA Champions League returns for its round of 16 this week and brings an enticing encounter between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at the former’s home - Santiago Bernabeu.
In what promises to be a colossal affair, both sides enter the fray with a lot at stake, as Les Parisiens look to break through the glass ceiling and finally lift the coveted big ears, whilst Madrid’s title hopes for the season depends solely on this two-legged tie for now.
When the sides clashed back in 2015, it was a low-key duel in the group stages as Los Blancos registered a tame 1-0 win against the run of play after a dour goalless stalemate in Paris. However, winds of change have blown over both sides, and this time around, it’ll be a very, very different prospect.
On that note, here are 5 things to consider ahead of the mouth-watering contest:
#5 Zinedine Zidane’s Marco Asensio-Gareth Bale conundrum
While sending out the best possible team would be on both the managers’ mind, Zidane may face a trickier selection with having to choose between an in-form Marco Asensio and a stellar figure in Gareth Bale. Both players are undoubtedly vital, but there’s place for only one in the starting XI. So who will be bestowed with a spot in the starting 11?
On one hand, you have Asensio regaining a rich vein of form of late, as evinced by his solid performance in the 5-2 drubbing of Real Sociedad at home.
The Spanish youngster started on the left side behind Cristiano Ronaldo and capped off another impressive display as his buccaneering runs down the channels bolstered Madrid’s attacking pelt. Asensio’s skilful trickery that led to the second goal in that game also highlighted his nimbleness in picking out defences.
Now, that can be a useful trait against a robust PSG as Los Merengues have also appeared faster and more fluid with him in the team than they have with Bale. The Welshman, on the other hand, has seen his season plagued with yet more bout of injuries and has laboured for the most part of his time on the field.
The only factor that holds him in a better stead to start on Wednesday against Asensio is that of glamour.
On the contrary, Asensio also brings speed and tenacity, something that’s absolutely imperative to counter PSG’s high-pressing. Zidane’s quandary lies in choosing between style and substance, although we very well know what’s likely to be chosen.