Over 500 miles, ten hours by road, nine by train and around an hour and a half by flight – this is what separates Manchester in England from Paris in France. Yet, two teams from these two cities share a lot in common.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are not clubs you will come across often in the history books of the beautiful game. But under new investors, they have made exemplary progress over the last decade or so.
The Parisiens had won only two Ligue 1 honours till 2012, but in the last ten years, they have got their hands on the biggest French honour a record seven times. Similarly, the Cityzens had won two English top-flight honours before 2011, but have won five Premier League titles in the last ten years.
For all of their domestic glory, there is one trophy that has eluded both clubs, which happens to be the biggest crown in Europe – the UEFA Champions League. In yet another bid to conquer Europe, Pep Guardiola’s City will cross swords with Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG in a Group H clash at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Let us have an in-depth look at what to expect from the game:
MANCHESTER CITY IN UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Manchester City have been fairly consistent in this competition, barring a lone slip-up. They started with a frantic 6-3 win over RB Leipzig, where six different players scored for the Cityzens. Nathan Ake, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Joao Cancelo and Gabriel Jesus scored a goal apiece, while Nordi Mukiele netted an own-goal.
The second Champions League game was where it went all wrong for Manchester City, as Paris Saint-Germain handed them a 2-0 defeat. Idrissa Gana Gueye and Lionel Messi scored for the Parisiens in that match.
In their last two matches against Belgian outfit Club Brugge, Guardiola’s boys have not only secured victories, but have also significantly increased their goal difference. The first of these two fixtures ended 5-1 in City’s favour, where Mahrez scored a brace, while Cancelo, Kyle Walker and Cole Palmer netted one goal each.
In their last outing in this competition, City won 4-1 against the same opposition. Mahrez scored once again against the Jupiler Pro League team, while the other three goals were scored by Jesus, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is currently under self-isolation after returning a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 in Belgium last week, while Ferran Torres is also sidelined with a metatarsal fracture.
Besides the duo, Jack Grealish is also unlikely to feature, but given he is nearing match sharpness, Guardiola might try the Englishman out as an impact substitute. City are likely to line up in their usual 4-3-3 formation for this clash.
Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte are expected to pair up at the centre of the defence, with Walker and Cancelo operating at the flanks. The three-man midfield is likely to be comprised of Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan, while in attack, Gabriel Jesus is likely to accompany Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo; Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN IN UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Despite adding unreal talent to an already talented roster, Paris Saint-Germain have not been as convincing as many would have expected them to be. The French outfit started with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Club Brugge, where Ander Herrera’s early strike was cancelled out by Hans Vanaken.
In the second match, however, they were at their best, as they secured a 2-0 victory against the reigning English champions. Mauricio Pochettino’s team had to work hard for the three points in the game against RB Leipzig, but they eventually managed to get the job done.
Messi netted a brace in that game and Kylian Mbappe scored the other goal. Having crossed the first hurdle against Leipzig, Parisiens stumbled at the second hurdle and could only manage a 2-2 stalemate.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST MANCHESTER CITY
It is not often that Paris Saint-Germain does not have a long list of absentees, but for this match, Pochettino will have almost a full-strength squad at his disposal. Sergio Ramos is fit and available for selection, but it will be interesting to see whether the Argentine manager will break the centre-back pairing of Presnel Kimpembe and Sergio Ramos.
There are, however, some concerns in the goalkeeping section. Gianluigi Donnarumma is down with stomach flu, while third-choice custodian Alexandre Letellier is nursing a muscle injury, which makes Keylor Navas the only possible choice for guarding the goal. Besides the two goalkeepers, Julian Draxler and Rafinha will be unavailable for this game.
PSG are likely to counter City’s 4-4-3, using a three-man midfield of Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Georginio Wijnaldum. While they do have good players in every position, the front three of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar might keep the City defenders up at the night before the game.
Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Keylor Navas; Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos/Presnel Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes; Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Georginio Wijnaldum; Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr.
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