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Sports

Champions League Last 16: John Terry missing as Chelsea face PSG rematch

Chelsea's captain will miss Tuesday's Last 16 tie against the Parisians after sustaining injury on Saturday. The English side meet a PSG side comprehensively dominant in its own domestic league.

For the third consecutive season in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea meet Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages. Much has happened since the last encounter at the same stage last season, the French side winning on away goals after extra time.

With the reign of Jose Mourinho coming to an abrupt end, seven months after collecting the Premier League title, Chelsea's position is remarkably different. Having bobbled around the relegation zone for most of the season, the rudimentary, yet effective, football under Guus Hiddink will be welcomed. Chelsea's steady recovery under the former PSV coach has seen them remain unbeaten in 12 games, following Saturday's 5-1 win over Newcastle.

The London side, winners of the tournament in 2012 under Roberto Di Matteo, travel across the English Channel without Terry. Kurt Zouma, the normal deputy, is missing and will force the Dutchman into a reshuffle of his defense for Tuesday's clash.

"Of course not having John is a bit of a setback as a leader, but I'm not the kind of manager who starts moaning, moaning, moaning. We go on and I have full confidence in the players who replace, Hiddink told reporters. "Terry is a key component not only because of his game but also because of his personality, he also gives them an aerial threat in attack," PSG coach Laurent Blanc added.

Parisians and Pride

Defender Serge Aurier is suspended by PSG after posting abusive videos on social media, while Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore are expected to be left out due to fitness concerns. The French champions are unbeaten in 35 league games and progressed from a group including Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donestk. Five years into the ownership stint of Qatar Sports Investments, the club has yet to make a robust claim to win Europe's biggest prize.

Blanc's side has a 24-point lead over second place Monaco - the gap between the top-two in France is greater than from second to bottom. Statistically,

as shown in the "Wall Street Journal,"

teams with a more competitive league race fare better in the latter stages tournament. With PSG romping home to the French championship, a squad dwarfing all other potential challengers, there are doubts the league preparation won't be up to much in the Champions League.

"Coming into the season with PSG you know that your season will be judged on what you do in the Champions League," admitted Blanc at the pre-match press conference in Paris. "There's hardly any point in even playing in the league because apparently you've won it before it has even begun.

"Here we are up against a club in the same category as PSG, if not even stronger. Chelsea have experience and have won the Champions League so, although we are better equipped now, we are also aware that we are coming up against a difficult team.

"Now we are boxing in a category that we don't have in our domestic league."

Champions League Last 16 First Leg ties for Tuesday:

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Chelsea

Benfica vs. Zenit St Petersburg

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