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|Manchester City vs PSG Information|
|What||Manchester City vs Paris Saint-Germain|
|Where||Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England|
|When||Wednesday, 5 May 2021, 03.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
For the third Champions League game on the bounce, Manchester City conceded the first goal at the Parc des Princes last week. And for the third Champions League game on the bounce, they were celebrating a victory by the time the final whistle sounded. As such, City are one match away from a first-ever appearance in the final of Europe’s foremost club competition.
PSG are not out of this tie just yet, though, and we could be in store for a classic encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. Just like in the first meeting, there is unlikely to be much between the two teams, so take advantage of Bet MGM’s odds of +150 on either team winning by a one-goal margin.
Midway through the first leg, PSG had Manchester City exactly where they wanted them. The Premier League leaders controlled the opening 10 minutes, but the remainder of the first half saw PSG dominate. Marquinhos headed home from a corner to give the hosts the lead, either side of which Mauricio Pochettino’s men fashioned other opportunities to score. City were not quite on the ropes, but there was plenty of work to be done in order to improve the situation.
PSG started the brighter of the two teams after the interval, but as time went on City gradually gained a foothold. Both of their goals, scored by Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, were somewhat fortuitous, but City did a fine job of controlling the game once they had taken the lead. PSG, by contrast, lost their heads, with Idrissa Gueye shown a red card for a poor tackle and many of his team-mates proving unable to rally after the setback of a 1-0 lead becoming a 2-1 deficit.
The Ligue 1 giants cannot afford a repeat if things go against them at the Etihad. PSG will still be in the tie even if City take the lead; a 2-1 win would bring extra time, while three away goals would leave Guardiola’s side needing to score three times too. PSG must demonstrate an ability to withstand pressure, much like City did in the first half last time out. A failure to do so could cost them a place in a second consecutive Champions League final.
Manchester City’s 5-2 defeat by Leicester City in late September was arguably the most significant result of their season. Mahrez gave Guardiola’s side the lead that afternoon, but a combination of Leicester’s potency on the counter-attack and City’s inability to defend against it led to the favorites being humbled on their own patch.
Two days later, City signed Ruben Dias from Benfica. The deal had been lined up beforehand, but the humbling by Leicester demonstrated how urgently City needed a new central defender. Dias has done brilliantly ever since he arrived on English soil, and the Portuguese could even become only the third player in his position to win the PFA Player of the Year award since 1993.
City’s defensive record has been excellent all season. That is in part down to individuals such as Dias and John Stones, who has resurrected his career at the club in impressive fashion. But it is also because City’s pressing has become much more effective after a dip last term. PSG may have dominated the first half of the first leg, but City did not crumble against the counter-attack. Kylian Mbappe did not manage a single shot all night.
City will need to be resolute again on Tuesday. Guardiola said in the build-up that his team will not attempt to sit on their lead, and that would indeed be a dangerous strategy. However, a combination of controlled possession and sharp pressing will be employed to try and take the sting out of the game as and when required.
The first leg in Paris was tight, and there is no reason to think the reverse fixture will follow a different pattern. PSG will need to come out on the front foot without going gung-ho too early, while it is not in City’s nature to sit back and limit their attacking to sporadic forays forward on the counter-attack. Indeed, both teams will show plenty of attacking intent regardless of which of them needs a goal at any given moment.
This is a difficult game to call, and from a betting perspective, there is not much value to be had in certain likely outcomes, such as both teams to score and over 2.5 goals. For that reason, it is best to put a wager on either side to win by one goal. Bear in mind that a defeat by that margin would not necessarily be enough to take PSG through to the final, and the tie could ultimately be settled by who has scored the most away goals.
Regardless of how it turns out, expect a thrilling contest between two attack-minded sides full of quality from back to front.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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