It is a remarkable that, for a competition that now hasn't seen a repeat winner for 25 years, we still see so much repetition in the Champions League knockout rounds.
This year's last-16 draw features three ties that took place last season alone, as well as a restaging of the 1997 final. There also are similar features: Real Madrid got an easy draw, Bayern Munich should waltz through and it's difficult to escape the feeling that we're going to see the ongoing trend of all the teams who were first...
More than halfway through the 2014-15 season, Paris Saint-Germain looks like a shadow of last season's team. The 2013-14 PSG that comfortably won Ligue 1 and advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals by overwhelming opponents with its attacking talent has gone away, and in its place is a club that has been hampered by a league-high eight draws and currently sits in third place, four points out of the top position in Ligue 1.
PSG's inconsistent attacking play makes it a threat to miss out on a third consecutive Ligue 1 title, and while the team has 28-1 odds to win the Champions League, it will first need to advance past Chelsea in the round of 16 to restore hope for a European trophy.
What's gone wrong for Laurent Blanc & Co.? Here is a look at why PSG's attack has been so stagnant in 2014-15 and why that will likely prevent the team from taking home any major silverware this season.
Ibrahimovic's declining impact
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed eight games this season with a heel injury, and PSG's four draws in those eight games have cost the team critical points in the Ligue 1 standings. Ibrahimovic plays an essential role as a center forward in the team's 4-3-3 formation, not only because he can outmuscle defenders in the penalty area with his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, but also because he is adept at dropping into the midfield and creating chances for the rest of the team. Therefore, it is no surprise that PSG is not the same attacking team without him, and in his absence the team averages two fewer shots per game and 15 percent fewer touches in the attacking third.
But even when healthy this season, Ibrahimovic has struggled to be as dominant as he's been in previous seasons....