Paris St-Germain may appear to have the attacking riches to cope with a Champions League trip to Chelsea without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the evidence suggests they will struggle in his absence.
Les Rouges et Bleues are as short as 1/4 to qualify for the semi-finals after taking a commanding 3-1 lead at the Parc des Princes, but last season they won just one of the eight games in which he didn’t feature.
By contrast the 2012/13 ledger reveals victories in 70 per cent of the matches in which the Swede featured, illustrating just how integral he was to their modus operandi.
The Malmo maestro’s absence for the Stamford Bridge decider imbues the 53/20 about Chelsea qualifying at PSG’s expense with powers of irresistibility more often felt on nightclub dance floors at 2:00 AM.
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At this point pessimistic punters would be right to interject with the counter-argument that Les Parisiens have signed circa £55m centre forward Edinson Cavani since the period covered by the aforementioned statistics.
That, as the Uruguayan’s 43-minute strike against Reims at the weekend proves, is incontrovertibly the case.
Yet, despite bagging four times in the three games in which he has led the line in Ibra’s absence, Cavani was unable to fire PSG to victory against Benfica at Estadio da Luz earlier this season.
Jorge Jesus’ side may ultimately have fallen through the Europa League trapdoor, but that Lisbon trip represents a far more similar task to the one at hand than the wide-margin home wins recorded over Reims and Lorient in which the ex-Napoli star deputised for his Swedish colleague.
Playing against a Chelsea side that have gone 720 minutes without conceding a home goal will be an altogether sterner challenge for Laurent Blanc’s depleted troops.