Man City vs PSG predictions: Where Champions League semi-final will be won and lost

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Alex Young
·3-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Manchester City hold a slender advantage as they welcome Paris Saint-Germain to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in the second leg of a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final.

PSG dominated the first half last week, going ahead through Marquinhos, before a stunning second-half comeback saw goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez give Pep Guardiola & Co. a valuable away-goals lead.

Guardiola has previously won the competition twice with Barcelona but is looking to reach new ground with City in his fifth season as the club aim to reach their first ever final

PSG are aiming to go one better after losing to Bayern Munich in last summer’s showpiece.

Here are the key talking points ahead of the game.

AP
AP

Mbappe injury

PSG have suffered a huge injury scare ahead of the clash with key striker Kylian Mbappe missing his side's win over Lens at the weekend with a calf problem. The France World Cup winner, who City prevented from registering a shot on goal in the first leg, is vital to his side's hopes of getting back into this tie. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he is "optimistic" Mbappe will feature but there remains some doubt.

Getty Images
Getty Images

PSG’s other stars

The Mbappe uncertainty throws an even brighter spotlight on PSG's other major world star, Neymar. The Brazilian was lively in the first leg but ultimately frustrated and there will be great pressure on him to deliver. It was for games like this that he was bought. He is unlikely to be able to pull this off alone, however. Senior figures such as Angel Di Maria, Alessandro Florenzi, Marco Verratti and Marquinhos will need to show their experience. In a further blow to PSG, Idrissa Gana Gueye is suspended after his sending off last week, robbing the midfield of some of its bite and drive.

REUTERS
REUTERS

Man City's approach

Predicting how City will line up is always difficult, given the number of changes Pep Guardiola routinely makes and how some surprise selections have seen the manager accused of overthinking knockout games in the past. However, it does seem fairly safe to assume City will adopt a similar approach to the first leg. Guardiola's European tactics have been fairly consistent of late, with the team playing a fluid system based around a number of interchanging 'false nines' rather than with an out-and-out centre forward. The side that started against PSG last week contained 10 of the team that began the quarter-final second leg at Borussia Dortmund and was exactly the same as the first leg against the Germans.

PA
PA

Tie too close to call

Despite City's aggregate lead and their two away goals, the tie remains in the balance. PSG are a strong attacking unit and will look to hit back hard. They have also been impressive on their travels, winning both their away legs in the last two rounds against powerhouse opposition in Barcelona and Bayern Munich. City also looked vulnerable when defending set-pieces last week and that is another area PSG could exploit. City are high in confidence after securing the Carabao Cup and moving to within three points of the title, as well as winning in Paris, in the past fortnight but PSG were also victorious, against Lens, at the weekend.

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Guardiola vs Pochettino

Both managers played it down last week, but the battle on the touchline between Guardiola and Pochettino is an interesting one. The pair have now met 19 times, dating back to their time as rivals at Barcelona and Espanyol over a decade ago. Guardiola has the advantage with 11 victories to three, with five draws, but Pochettino famously edged their last Champions League tie when Tottenham beat City two years ago.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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