Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why Manchester City should now make the Champions League semi-finals

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 6 Apr 2016

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Manchester City picked up a 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash, and have a brilliant opportunity to progress to the semis if they can either win in the home leg or pick up a 0-0 or 1-1 draw.

City not perfect but much-improved

The Sky Blues delivered a much more convincing performance in Paris, but will rue their defensive errors that made the game a lot harder than it needed to be. Paris Saint-Germain were for the taking on Wednesday night, and could have even been beaten on another day. City will certainly fancy their chances against any side at the Etihad Stadium, so are they now favourites?

Paris Saint-Germain not only failed to win the home leg of their Champions League meeting with the Sky Blues, they have lost two more players to suspension, with David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi picking up yellow cards to rue them out of the return fixture. Given Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore are both likely to miss out in the second leg, manager Laurent Blanc has a real selection headache.

Manchester City will be fully aware of how many players their opponents could be without for the clash to come, and manager Manuel Pellegrini knows his men are in the driving seat. A goalless draw will be enough to see City progressing, while a 1-1 stalemate will also do the job. But with PSG clearly struggling from a lack of sharpness as a result of having won their domestic title very prematurely, City could run them ragged at home.

PSG more than beatable as things stand

Blanc’s men were far from their best, and can’t really suggest they deserved more than a draw at the Parc des Princes. They are sure to respond at the Etihad Stadium, but will be met with a City side buoyed by their recent upturn in form in all competitions. After a disappointing Premier League campaign, the Champions League has provided some solace for the Sky Blues, with Manuel Pellegrini’s men boasting five wins and two draws from their last eight in the competition.

They are eyeing a place in the semi-final for the first time in their history, and couldn’t ask for a better opportunity with a home tie deciding their fate. Man City are 7/2 to reach the Champions League final, but should they now capitalise on PSG’s misgivings and make the final four later this month?


Crippy Cooke

Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.



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