Manchester City are heading into the return leg against the French champions with an encouraging draw and two away goals that will be enough of an incentive for Manuel Pellegrini’s men to pick up their performance and improve their form in the crucial game of the season at the Etihad Stadium.
It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Manchester City thus far, but the Citizens still have enough of a chance to salvage the campaign with a huge result in Europe’s elite competition. For a club that has spent almost a billion pounds over the course of last eight years, City’s season has hardly been a resounding success. Having been long eliminated from the Premier League title race, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have struggled to keep pace and have suffered from inconsistency that has put their Champions League spot in danger. On the back of a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over West Brom, Citizens find themselves sitting fourth in the domestic table, two points behind third-placed Arsenal and four in front of their city rivals who are also pushing for a place in the elite club competition. Their form has been wildly unpredictable and Citizens may consider them lucky to pull of an impressive away result at Parc des Princes despite the calamitous error by Fernando that let in Zlatan Ibrahimovic score an easy goal. Citizens take the rematch most seriously and Pellegrini is willing to risk captain Vincent Kompany, who returned to training on Sunday and the team’s skipper is in line to lead the team out having not played a single minute since Dynamo Kiev last month.
Yaya Toure is fit again and is returning to the starting berth, along with David Silva, who is expected to shake off a knock.
Samir Nasri returned to action against West Brom and will be in contention for a place in the team, while Kevin De Bruyne will once again be at disposal to Manuel Pellegrini.
The Saints have locked up their fourth successive Ligue 1 title in style and Laurent Blanc men are fully focused on the UEFA Champions League, eager to end the quarter-final frustration. Paris Saint-Germain have been ending their European path at this stage of the competition for the three straight seasons already and the pressure is up to them to beat Manchester City, who had never made it past last 16 in the competition. Champions League is the competition where PSG need to make their mark and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost certain to quit the club at the end of the season the pressure is even higher. The first leg against the Premier League outfit raised a couple of questions as PSG demonstrated a weak defensive performance against the Citizens. Their ability to raise the level of the performance in the biggest games is also put to the test and it will be up to Laurent Blanc to shape the mental frame of his team in order to overcome the hurdle at the Etihad Stadium. The French manager made nine changes to his team in the 2-0 triumph over Giungamp and will be forced to make a couple of more changes for the upcoming event against Manchester City.
David Luiz has been booked in the first leg and is forced to miss the rematch through suspension, but Marquinhos is ready to take his place.
Blaise Matuidi is also out due to yellow card accumulation, while goalkeeper Kevin Trapp is a major doubt as he has been forced off at halftime against Guingamp following a collision with teammate Layvin Kurzawa.
Key Factors to Consider
- City have won just two of their last six home games
- PSG are coming off from four consecutive wins on the road
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in City’s last three matches
- French champions have scored 17 goals in last five matches
- City have never progressed to the semi-finals of the competition before
Manchester City are hugely motivated to record a positive result against PSG and save their underwhelming season. PSG return to England for the second time in a month and will be eager to repeat the fine performance they produced at Stamford Bridge in March. Laurent Blanc’s men are more than capable of beating Citizens at the Emirates stadium.
Verdict: Away win
Bookmaker: William Hill