Manchester City are on the brink of history by reaching the Champions League Final for the first time in their history with a bruised PSG standing in their way on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola’s side produced a barnstorming second half display to blow PSG away in the first leg in the Parc6 des Princes in an encounter that was the very epitome of a game of two halves.
It’s been a long time since a City team was bossed like they were in the first half of the tie, but it’s a measure of City and Guardiola that not only did they completely turn the game on their head, they took control of the entire tie after a 2-1 win.
Both sides made changes of varying degrees in the weekend as City cruised to a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace while PSG only just edged out Lens 2-1 at home.
It has the ingredients of a fascinating tie, especially with key man Kylian Mbappe a ‘doubt’ for the tie. Assuming he makes it though strap yourselves in because this could be a cracker.
Form Guide: Manchester City
The Citizens come into this duel with plenty of optimism since they’ve managed to snatch a win in Paris despite trailing at half time. At the weekend, they strolled to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. The first-leg result gives them a huge advantage and a chance to reach the Champions League final for the first time in their history. The team has been phenomenal this season – they are first in the Premier League and only a miracle can stop them from being champions, plus they’ve already won a trophy in the Carabao Cup. Also, they’ve won all five CL games since the knockout phase started and they have a clean bill of health with all players at Guardiola’s disposal.
Form Guide: PSG
The Parisians are in a tough situation before the second leg and they will have to overcome the odds to reach their second Champions League final in a row. The team hasn’t been as dominant as previous seasons in the French league and they are currently 2nd, one point behind Lille with three games left to play. In the last eight league games, Paris Saint-Germain has won six and lost two, so they are in pretty good form at the moment. However, Bernat, Gueye, and Letellier are out of the second leg due to injuries, while Mbappe remains doubtful. They claimed a 2-1 win over Lens at the weekend but it was far from a convincing performance in any way.
How the match could go
City may be tempted to sit back and hold on to what they have against PSG, and even a 1-0 defeat would not be enough to stop Guardiola’s men from advancing to the final, but the hosting manager will not accept such a showing. The possible return of Mbappe after he missed training on Sunday will be a huge boost to PSG’s goal-scoring exploits, but a well-rested attacking contingent on City’s end is difficult for any defence in the game to contain, so we expect a tight affair to end in a draw as City book their plane tickets to Istanbul.
Tip: Manchester City win or draw
Many expected a win for PSG in the first leg, so it was rather surprising to see them lose after leading at half time. However, our prediction for the second leg is on the side of Man City after that performance in the second half of the game in Paris. Furthermore, Paris Saint-Germain may have to play without Mbappe, which would make it much harder for them to get a positive result in Manchester. Even if Mbappe is rushed ahead of the tie, his fitness won’t be at 100% and that could go a long way in deciding how the game goes. City also boast a strong home record and we’re backing them not to lose today. Bet365 have 1.20 odds, Bet9ja have 1.22 and 1xbet have 1.24.
Over 2.5 Goals
Two of the highest scoring teams remaining in the Champions League face off once again. PSG have scored at least three goals in their last three away matches in the competition and City have scored at least two in each of the last six. It is highly unlikely that City will sit back to defend their slim lead from the first leg, and with PSG required to at least score twice, they will go all out attacking. We thus expect to see at least three goals after 90 minutes. Bet9ja have 1.50 odds, Bet365 have 1.53 and 1xbet have 1.55.
Both teams to score: YES
PSG have seen BTTS and over 2.5 goals scored in seven out of their last nine away CL matches. Given the fact that PSG need an early goal to give themselves some hope in the tie, we can expect them to go out guns blazing from the onset. In the same vein, Manchester City would be looking for an early goal to calm their nerves in the tie and that leaves us with a game where both teams would likely get on the score-sheet. The first goal could be crucial and could well determine how the game would go. Bet9ja have 1.50 odds, Bet365 have 1.57 and 1xbet have 1.59.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Manchester City)
We predicted him to score last time out and he did not disappoint. When you’re talking about a player for the big occasion, he is always up to the task. He has now scored in his last three Champions League games and he could yet continue their impressive streak. He became the first City player to score in a Champions League semi-final and he could yet lead them one step closer to the title they have been craving for the most in recent years. Bet365 have 2.50 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have it at 3.00.
This prediction is a bit risky because it’s never safe to assume who will start in Guardiola’s teams, but Aguero has been playing well lately, scoring two goals in his last three Premier League appearances. And while he didn’t play in the first leg of the CL semi-finals, we expect him to take the field in the rematch and hopefully, score a goal or two. Bet365 have 1.95 odds while Bet9ja have 2.25.
Anytime Goal-scorer (PSG)
Mbappe missed training on Sunday and is a doubt for the clash. However, he is part of the travelling squad, meaning he might just about be fit to play. It does beg the question if he is 100% fit for the tie. On a good day, Mbappe can single-handedly win his side the game and much of their hopes of overturning a two-goal away deficit will hinge on their star Frenchman being at his very best like we saw against Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Value comes with the Frenchman as Bet365 have a respectable 2.30 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have theirs at 2.90.
The Brazilian put in a good shift last time out but was unable to get in among the goals. He has been quiet of late in the Champions League but has always remained as dangerous as ever while on the ball. He is perhaps the biggest PSG name right now and they’ll need their most expensive player to step up to the occasion. Bet365 have 2.75 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 3.00.