5 talking points ahead of Man City’s Champions League semi-final against PSG

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Andy Hampson, PA
·2-min read
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Manchester City face Paris St Germain in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. Here, the PA news agency looks at some talking points ahead of the game.

Favourites collide

PSG have a reputation for attacking football
PSG have a reputation for attacking football (Martin Rickett/PA)

Neither City nor PSG have ever won the Champions League, having achieved just one final appearance between them, but they are the two favourites for the competition. Those who dislike the way the owners of both clubs have spent lavishly to join the elite may wish to look away but, putting those issues aside, it is expected to be an entertaining tie between two positive, attack-minded teams.

The long quest for glory

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Both clubs have long coveted this title having been on similar trajectories for the past decade. City have become big players in the European game since their takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008 but success in this elite competition has been elusive. Despite participating in 10 successive seasons, they only have one previous semi-final appearance to show for their efforts. PSG, who welcomed their Qatari investors in 2011, found the quarter-finals or last 16 their limit until reaching the final last year.

Ones to watch

City will hope to keep Kylian Mbappe quiet
City will hope to keep Kylian Mbappe quiet (Martin Rickett/PA)

Attention will naturally focus on PSG’s much-vaunted attack, led by the formidable duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. PSG arrive in fine goalscoring form having netted at least three times in seven of their last nine games, with Mbappe alone having bagged 35 this season. City’s success this season has been a collective effort but Kevin De Bruyne is their key attacking figure while Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan are also in fine form.

Managers head to head

Mauricio Pochettino (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) face each other again
Mauricio Pochettino (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) face each other again (PA Archive)

City boss Pep Guardiola and opposite number Mauricio Pochettino know each other well, their rivalry dating back more than a decade to their time in Spain as respective managers of neighbours Barcelona and Espanyol. More recently they clashed in England during the latter’s time with Tottenham. Guardiola has won 10 of their 18 meetings but Pochettino famously emerged victorious when his Spurs side beat City in the quarter-finals two years ago.

History

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City do have history on their side having edged out PSG in the quarter-finals five years ago. The sides drew 2-2 in Paris before De Bruyne scored a late winner to send City through 3-2 on aggregate on the back of a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.