Manchester City travel to France for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Paris St Germain on Wednesday.
Here’s what everyone’s talking about ahead of the game.
1. Can City rediscover their spark?
Manuel Pellegrini’s men did win the Capital One Cup but after failing to sustain a title challenge in the Barclays Premier League, their season will be remembered as one of under-achievement – unless they can produce something special in the Champions League. Yet doing so would seem a tall order.
Their form has been patchy for most of the season and their slump since announcing Pep Guardiola will replace Pellegrini in the summer – Wembley victory aside – has been stark. But they can cling to the fact they have shown greater maturity in Europe this season and Saturday’s convincing win at Bournemouth should put them in good heart.
2. Comparisons between the two clubs
Plenty of parallels have been drawn between City and PSG in recent seasons with both clubs having been propelled towards the elite of the European game in recent years by considerable investment from backers in Gulf states.
The money from Abu Dhabi, in City’s case, and Qatar for PSG has already borne fruit in terms of domestic league success and more seems likely to follow, with Europe the next step. City’s progression has come at a slower pace than that of PSG, who have both won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League quarter-finals in each of the last four years, but their position is still strong.
They have won the Premier League title twice since their 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour and now have facilities that are the envy of much of the continent.
3. City’s injury problems
City have been hampered by a series of injuries to key players in recent months with Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling currently among the casualties. Kompany and Toure are unlikely to return before the weekend and Sterling faces a lengthy spell out.
Pellegrini will hope goalkeeper Joe Hart can prove his fitness after making a quicker than expected recovery from a calf injury and Fabian Delph is also close to a return. Kevin De Bruyne also made a highly encouraging, goalscoring comeback after two months out against Bournemouth. Samir Nasri is also fit again but, after so long on the sidelines, has not been registered for the Champions League.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The undoubted star of PSG continues to command plenty of attention because of his formidable goalscoring form and the uncertainty about his future. The 34-year-old Sweden forward is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a move to England.
His stats underline why he would be sought after having scored 30 times in 26 Ligue 1 appearances this season, including a hat-trick against Nice on Saturday.