Paris Saint-Germain will want to continue to show their Champions League credentials when they host Benfica on Tuesday.
PSG began the group phase with a comfortable 4-1 win over Olympiakos, and with the fourth side being Anderlecht, the French champions will be confident of worry-free progress into the last-16
PSG forwards Ibrahimovic and Cavani during a training session ahead of their Champions League group game against Benfica, October 1
Laurent Blanc will know his side are expected to win pretty much every game in this group, and with the manager possessing probably the best one-two forward punch in Europe in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, a lot of goals can also be expected along the way.
Benfica have struggled a little in the opening stages of this season, failing to win three of their first six games in the Portuguese league, which sees them only fifth in the table.
Blanc, though, is not too concerned by Benfica's domestic form and expects a tough outing at the Parc de Princes.
"We know Benfica are fifth in their league, but it would be a safe bet to say they will finish in the top two or three come the end of the season," Blanc said. "They have been very consistent, which explains their great experience in the Champions League. We have to respect them, but must also have the will to win and cause them a lot of difficulties.
"In the league they like to dominate possession and dictate the game, but I don't know if that is the way they plan to play in the Champions League and, what is more, away from home in Paris. That will be our objective, though. Whoever manages to dominate possession will control the game.
"We know Benfica well, even more so since we've scouted them a few times since the draw. I know Jorge Jesus -- we had an opportunity to talk at the recent (UEFA elite club) coaches forum. It is their intention which will shape the game - will they sit deep and wait at the beginning of the match, or try and attack straight away? I have no idea."
Benfica also made a bright start to their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over Anderlecht, and if the Portuguese side can keep possession and take away the danger of Ibrahimovic, they might have a chance to pick up a positive result.
Team News: Thiago Silva and Alex missed the weekend's game for PSG with Marquinhos and Zoumana Camara forming a partnership at the centre of defence. If the first two fail to recover, then Blanc is expected to stick with the same partnership.
Benfica are likely to be without Ruben Amorim (thigh), Silvio (knee), and Eduardo Salvio (knee), but Bruno Cortez and Nicolas Gaitan made their returns from injury at the weekend.
Key men: PSG: Has to be the forward two of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani - on their two, either can be unplayable, and if both of them click on Wednesday, then Benfica might be in for a long night.
Benfica: Nemanja Matic is the one that usually controls the game and keeps it simple for Benfica in midfield. If the defensive midfielder can quell the PSG attacks and put a lid on their playmakers, then Benfica will cause the home side some problems.
Where to watch
The match is scheduled for a 12.15 a.m. (IST, Thursday) start with no live telecast scheduled.
Expected lineups: PSG: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Camara, Maxwell; Matuidi, Verratti; Lucas, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi; Cavani.
Benfica: Artur; Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Cortez; Fejsa, Perez, Matic, Gaitan; Lima, Cardozo.
Prediction: 2-0 to PSG
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Top Ten Richest Americans [PHOTOS]
- A Tribute To Great Actor Paul Walker: Best Quotes From 'Fast And Furious' Films [PHOTOS/ VIDEOS]
- Slideshow: Kate Middleton Looks Ravishing in Black Net Dress, Covers Up Grey [SEE PHOTOS]
- Is Orlando Bloom’s Wife, Miranda Kerr Singing Love Songs for James Packer? [WATCH VIDEOS]