Manchester City Vs PSG Match Preview
Manchester City Vs PSG: As City looks forward to its first-ever semi-final berth in the Champions league, PSG hopes to extend its fantastic season in Ligue 1 by progressing to the semis after three unsuccessful attempts in the last three seasons. If it does progress, it will be only its second ever UCL last four. Paris was not really on fire after a 2-2 draw at Parc Dr Princes, where both teams looked a bit shabby. So far in Champions league, these two giants have played only two matches and drawn both. In 2008, they had met in the group stages and drawn 0-0.
1. Current Form and Performances
PSG who has already won the league with a 31- point lead is under huge pressure to do equally well in Europe. It needs to be known as more than a glamour club if it wants to be taken more seriously in the world football arena . City, on the other hand, is under different kind of pressure having dropped out of the EPL title race despite the 100 odd millions spent in buying prized players like Dr Bruyne and Sterling. Pellegrini’s last season at Etihad needs more than a Capital one cup to upstage his critics. Struggling to stay afloat in the top 4 in the Premier league with United and West Ham breathing down its neck, City players are hoping to salvage the season with a semi-final place .
With two wins, two draws and a loss in their last five matches overall, City may still squeeze through. PSG with three wins , a draw and a loss to Monaco has conceded two goals at home against City and needs to score at least two goals without conceding more than one to go through. It must be noted that PSG has scored at least two goals in their last five UCL games. The first leg which had more of Zlatan than anything else had him miss a spot kick, convert a horrendous error by Fernando into a goal and had a possible offside on his part that should have ruled out their second goal by Rabiot. Zlatan has scored a goal in each of his last five UCL games and it will be a new personal record if he scores today. He has been involved in six of their last eight goals in UCL.
2. Opportunities, Strengths and Weaknesses
The absence of Pastore and Veratti who can be game changers was felt in the first leg and will continue to be felt. While playmaker Di Maria is expected to provide support to the front three, the sometimes ineffective combination of Cavani and Zlatan at the front may prove to be PSG’s undoing. This is what the PSG manager had to say:
Blanc: “City played extremely well in Paris and have top quality players going forward. We need to be more solid at the back, close down spaces as well. If we leave them space, they really exploit it. We need to be compact and play our own game as well. We’ve analysed the first game and looked at the errors we’ve made. There was too wide a gap between players and opened too much space for City. When you think of the players they’ve got, they create a lot of chances.”
City’s most prolific scorer, Sergio Aguero has 16 goals in 18 UCL starts and is hoping to score today to get City their first win in the Quarterfinal stage of the competition. Fernandinho who has contributed two assists and a goal to City’s last three UCL goals will play a crucial role today. De Bruyne’s return to the squad is bound to boost their strength in the midfield while skipper Kompany is set to miss the game.
With Otamendi back to normal and David Silva hoping to make an impact despite a nagging ankle injury, City’s defence needs to be at its best to stop Ibrahimovic and Cavani. While Mangala’s poor spatial sense and reckless tackles continue to haunt City, Clichy who has always been better moving forward than defending has to ensure that Cavani is not given enough space around the box. Mangala and Otamendi may be more than a match for Zlatan in the air but his guile and power may keep the CBs busy most of the night .
Here is what Zabaleta had to say : “So many people were talking about PSG being favourites, but we showed that we have a good team and if we play in the same way without making mistakes we have players that can score at any time in the game. It will be important not to concede many chances because they have Ibrahimovic, Di Maria, Cavani who can all score goals. For everyone that loves football, it is one of those games that cannot be missed.”
3. Injuries and Suspension
David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi are suspended while Marco Veratti and Javier Pastore are unfit. Kevin Trapp their regular goalkeeper is struggling with fitness and may not play the crucial fixture.
City captain Vincent Kompany and star forward Raheem Sterling are not fit while Nasri was not included in the first leg squad and will not play.
Predicted Starting XI
Sirigu, Aurier, Maxwell, T Silva, Marquinhos, Di Maria, Rabiot, T Motta, Moura, Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Joe Hart, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, De Bruyne, D Silva, Navas, Aguero.