PSG play host to Manchester City in a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final first-leg showdown at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
For these two European heavyweights, winning the Champions League is their holy grail, but both teams have regularly suffered disappointment in the latter stages of Europe’s elite club competition.
PSG will be looking to make it two finals in a row while Pep Guardiola will be aiming to reach his first Champions League final as Manchester City boss. However this game may be, this is the one match all season you don’t want to miss.
Pep Guardiola’s men wrapped up their first trophy of the season on the weekend in their Carabao Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur. Aymeric Laporte’s late header sealed the victory for City after dominating the game from the first minute.
However, Paris Saint Germain will be hoping they can halt City’s hopes of finally breaking their Champions League curse with both sides aiming to lift the European trophy for the first time. Mauricio Pochettino’s side dumped current holders Bayern Munich out in the quarter finals and will be hoping to do so to the current bookies’ favourites in the semi-finals.
Having been eliminated from the FA Cup just over a week ago by Chelsea, Guardiola’s side now have their eyes on completing the treble with the Premier League trophy in their sights as well as the European crown which has eluded them to date.
City will be aware of PSG’s threats going forward, however, the Parisians are also likely to be boosted by the return of their main centre-back, Marquinhos, who has returned to training following the injury he picked up in the first-leg their quarter-final clash away to Bayern Munich.
Form Guide: PSG
Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG eliminated big hitters Barcelona and defending European champions Bayern Munich in the last two rounds of the Champions League, and their ability to produce the goods on the big occasion makes them an intriguing opponent for Guardiola’s tournament favourites.
Domestically, the Parisians are involved in a three-way tussle for a Ligue 1 title they are more used to winning at a canter, though a more competitive campaign in their homeland seems to have sharpened their edge on the continent.
Form Guide: Manchester City
Manchester City will switch their attention to the continent following their Carabao Cup final win over Tottenham, though PSG should provide the Citizens with a much sterner test than a sorry Spurs outfit did on Sunday.
City’s incredible run of 30 wins from their last 33 matches in all competitions has made them one of the continent’s most feared teams, however, this week they will compete in only their second Champions League semi-final in the club’s history.
Pep Guardiola’s charges made hard work of dispatching Borussia Dortmund in the competition’s previous round, though they did eventually beat the Germans in each leg to set up their date with PSG.
How the match could go
Both teams have plenty of firepower upfront, yet we expect an action packed match at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. Therefore, it’s rather safe to just expect goals in this one. Manchester City scored at an average of 2.1 goals per game whereas PSG at 2.4 goals per game across all competitions this season. Regarding full-time results, it is perhaps the hardest thing to pick but City remain the favorites here. This is heavily influenced by Pep Guardiola’s h2h record against Mauricio Pochettino during their stint with various clubs across Europe. The Spaniard tasted victory on 11 occasions as against the Argentine’s 3 wins with another 4 ending in draws. However, the stakes are different now with PSG on the hunt for glory and we’ll just have to see how it plays out.
Tip: Over 2.5 Goals
Both teams have gone over 2.5 total goals in two of their four matches in previous Champions League knockout phases, while PSG has been playing games with many goals the entire season. Their average in CL this season is 3.2 goals per game. Meanwhile, City has an average of 2.4 goals per game and they’ve kept a clean sheet in an impressive 70% of their CL matches. However, both teams have scored in 70% of PSG games and we expect to see this again, which would be a great start to getting over 2.5 total goals. Bet9ja have 2.00 odds, Bet365 have 2.10 and 1xbet have 2.19.
In such a high-staked encounter, the chances of a draw are rather slim. However, the main reason behind this pick is the fact that both teams are strictly attacking teams and we know both managers won’t tell their players to sit back. Two teams with a strong attacking philosophy take on each other and we can expect one team to rule the day after 90 minutes. Bet365 have 1.25 odds, Bet9ja have 1.26 and 1xbet have 1.31.
Both teams to score: YES
Just like Manchester City, PSG are in good goal-scoring form too, racking up 18 goals in their last six games, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them breach a City defence whose only clean sheet in their past six games came on Sunday. With that in mind, we expect both teams to get on the score-sheet and it could yet be a case of who outscores the other. Bet9ja have 1.60 odds, Bet365 have 1.66 and 1xbet have 1.67.
Anytime Goal-scorer (PSG)
Kylian Mbappe is the home side’s obvious main goal-scoring threat with the France striker scoring seven in his last six games, including a brace at the weekend. He punished Barcelona in the knockout stages with a hattrick at amp Nou before adding another on home turf. He also scored against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. He has proven to be a man for the big occasion and he is likely to do it all again. Bet365 have 2.30 odds while Bet9ja have 2.55 odds.
When Mbappe is not scoring goals, a certain Brazilian is doing the honors. There are even reports Mbappe is not fully fit for this game but we’re expecting him to shrug it all off. However, Neymar is the team’s second-best goal-scorer in the Champions League this season and is also the third in the entire CL with six goals this season. Last time out, he put a man of the match performance against Bayern Munich and he’ll be eager to maintain that. Bet365 have 2.62 while Bet9ja have 3.00.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Manchester City)
In such a big game, De Bruyne will be expected to once again lead by example. The Belgium midfielder scored against both Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 and quarter-final, so he seems a likely candidate to be on the score-sheet on Wednesday. Bet365 have 2.75 odds while Bet9ja have 3.50.
Phil Foden is enjoying a wonderful season and continues to be among the most vital players for his side. He has scored three goals in his last six games and remains a value option to get on the score-sheet. He is fast becoming a goal supplier from midfield and he is on top form now, making him a credible candidate to score. Bet365 have 3.10 odds while Bet9ja have 3.75.