Manchester City welcomes home Paris Saint-Germain for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals which is finely poised for an entertaining match after the 2-2 stalemate at Stade de France last week. Though the tie is hanging for anyone’s take, the Etihad outfit has a slight yet crucial advantage of two away goals which raises the odds of City reaching their first Champions League semi-final.
THE MATCH IS CITY’S TO LOSE
City maybe walking unchartered territories but the omens are looking in their favour as 82% of teams who drew 2-2 away in the first leg of Champions League ties has managed to progress to the next round. Only 57 times out of such 277 occurrences has it happened in the other way, which makes this match City’s to lose.
41 – Manchester City scored 41 goals at home in PL this season, more than any other team. Danger.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) April 12, 2016
At the same time, it won’t be that straightforward task for Pellegrini’s men considering PSG’s attacking strength and City’s defensive frailties. Also worrisome for City is their dispiriting record against quality teams. While they boast Premier League’s best figures against bottom-half teams, winning 15 out of 18 games and drawing the other three, their record against the top-half sides is the third-worst in England having taken just 9 points from the available 39 points.
Either way, the Etihad stadium is eagerly awaiting for the coveted clash with the stadium already sold-out.
Manchester City Team News
Pellegrini has confirmed that captain Vincent Company will miss the crucial match, despite taking part in Monday’s training session. It should bring Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi to form Pellegrini’s central-defensive pairing, which is a concern for City fans as both the defenders can be rash, impetuous and has a tendency to undermine their previous good works with moments of stupidity.
Another absentee is winger Raheem Sterling while Samir Nasri is ineligible for the game. David Silva, though, is likely to return to the side after being rested for the game against West Bromwich Albion, while Aguero has shaken off a knock to be considered for the starting XI.
Quotes from Manchester City Camp:
“I think the most important aspect is to score,” said City’s Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini. “We have been working here for three years and I always have the same answer. We are prepared to score goals. If we prepare to play 0-0 I think we will lose, so you will see the same team you have seen in the last two and a half seasons.”
Manchester City Predicted Line-Up:
Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy; Fernando, Toure; Navas, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero
AIMING TO BREAK THE QUARTER-FINALS JINX
PSG have been knocked out at this stage of the competition for three successive seasons since their first qualification in the 2012/13 edition- once by Chelsea and Barcelona twice.
The French team will be coming into the match hoping to break the quarter-final jinx on their fourth try but it will be a difficult task for them after their defence faltered at home.They either have to get on the scoresheet and prevent City from finding the net on home turf or aim for a high-scoring draw and better the two away goals that their rivals snatched at Parc des Princes.
PSG Team News:
The goalkeeper Kevin Trapp is a doubt for the match having involved in a nasty collision with Layvin Kurzawa during PSG’s league match with Guingamp. PSG have an experienced keeper on their bench but Sirigu’s style of play can lead to panic at the back due to his affinity for punching corners.
Champions League is back ! Which team reach the semi final ?— Old School Panini (@OldSchoolPanini) April 12, 2016
RT for CITY
Like for PSG pic.twitter.com/Kr09cNIxyh
The worst headache for Laurent Blanc though would be the absence of the defender David Luiz and the midfielder Blaise Matuidi through suspension. While David Luiz can be effectively replaced by Marquinhos, the absence of Matuidi is a big loss for the French champions. The dynamic Frenchman is the player who provides energy and running power in the PSG midfield and with Marco Verratti still struggling to prove his fitness, the loss of Matuidi will open up spaces in their midfield which Silva and De Bryune can easily exploit.
Quotes from PSG Camp:
“If we win tomorrow it will help create a new era of French football, it will change things and it would be a real breakthrough if we get to the semi-finals for the first time. Expectations are high for us and will remain high until we finally become European champions,” said Laurent Blanc.
Paris Saint-Germain Predicted Starting Line-Up:
Trapp; Aurier, Marquinhos, Silva, Maxwell; Motta, Verratti, Rabiot; Di Maria, Ibrahimovic, Cavani