Paris Saint-Germain (A) - CL SF | Pre-Match Thread

Result Prediction


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MAG

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PSG A.jpg





Home Fronts

While we are pretty much in control of the Premier League title race, the same can't be said for PSG. They are right in the fight for the Ligue 1 title, which in recent seasons gone by, has been a formality for them. But I am not sure if that is a good thing for us or not ... as in previous years when they have won their league rather comfortably and early (usually by now), then by the time they get to the later stages of the Champions League they have dropped that week-to-week intensity in their weekend games having swooped up most of their domestic titles ... but this year being involved in a proper fight for the title might actually help them. This is how the Ligue 1 table stand after yesterday’s ties that included PSG’s game this weekend. Lille who were right on top till last week might re-take that top spot by the end of today as they don’t play till later this evening.


Ligue 1.jpg


And a quick head-to-head reminder ... we have played them three times in total, most recent of which were the double legged ties in a previous Champions League campaign at the Quarter Final stage of the 15/16 season. We managed to draw 2-2 away before winning 1-0 at home and thus qualified for our first ever Champions League Semi Final. The man of the match performances of Kevin de Bruyne in both legs are still fondly remembered by us to this date. The third tie between the two was a nil-nil draw in UEFA Cup back in 2008, which essentially was a dead rubber for PSG who had already qualified.




Avant et Après
(Before & After)


The slightest little advantage at this stage of the season counts for a lot ... and in that scheduling sense they have that over us if you look at both legs and the three games around them as a whole.

Their before and after games have an extra day at each end (of these five game blocks) while we get a day less. Our games are both bigger in terms of a domestic cup final and Chelsea at the other end (although that one might be dead rubber by the time we play it, if we have won the title by then, or it could even be the one we win the title at). And the game sandwiched in between the two ties is at home for them while we will have to travel to South London. Small little margins but these could be the difference in terms of who has more tired legs towards the final minutes of these Semi Final ties.



This is how the next two weeks look for both teams:

Paris Saint-Germain

Sat 24 - 5:00pm - Metz (A) - Ligue 1
Wed 28 - 9:00pm - City (H) - CL SF
Sat 1 - 5:00pm - Lens (H) - Ligue 1
Tue 4 - 9:00pm - City (A) - CL SF
Sun 9 - 5:00pm - Rennes (A) - Ligue 1


Manchester City
Sun 25 - 4:30pm - Spurs (N) - Cup Final
Wed 28 - 8:00pm - PSG (A) - CL SF
Sat 1 - 12:30pm - Palace (A) - PL
Tue 4 - 8:00pm - PSG (H) - CL SF
Sat 8 - 5:30pm - Chelsea (H) - PL


All times listed above are local to the teams. France is in Western European Time zone which is GMT+1




The Opposing Manager

Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero - the Argentinian is well known to us so not a lot needs to be said about him here. It’s funny though that when we wanted him to succeed Pep at City and were all building him up, the same stats and hype was used to describe how he got his rather under-par team involved in the Premier League title race or how he got that same Spurs side to a Champions League Final ... but then when we’re upset by how jammy he has been at times especially against us, then the same stats are presented as to how he bottled the title race and allowed Leicester to win that season or then bottled the Champions League Final as well.


Poch.jpg



Is he underrated or overrated seems to depend on what mood you’re in that day and how you want to see him. Instead of giving you my opinion of him, I’d just list down his managerial career highlights (which frankly aren't many) and let you make up your own mind ...

After retiring as a player (central defender), Pochettino began his managerial career at Espanyol in 2009. He left the club in 2012 after poor results and financial disputes. In 2013, he came to the Premier League and took over Southampton whom he took to an eighth-place finish in the 2013/14 season, equalling the Saints' highest finish in the league. He then signed for Spurs in 2014, finishing as the league runner-up (behind Leicester) in the 2016/17 and then Champions League runner-up in 2019 ... before eventually being dismissed after a string of poor results at the start of the very next season after that. He has now returned to Paris Saint-Germain just in 2021 as their head coach, the team whom he had played for in his playing career as well.





Pep v Poch

More than City v PSG’s head-to-head record, it’s probably worth looking at the two managers record against each other given the two clubs haven’t really played each other that much apart from the three games I mentioned at the start. For what it’s worth, we can at least boast about being undefeated against PSG.

Pep has however faced Pochettino 18 times ... the third highest no. of games that he has faced against another manager after Mourinho (25) and Klopp (21). He has won 10 of those, while Poch came on top three times and the remaining five were draws between the two coaches.

Here is the complete record of the games between the two ...


Pep v Poch.jpg




Pre-Match Thoughts

Big week for both teams leading up to this ... PSG were in their domestic cup action on Wednesday with a quarter-final tie at home to Angers, before travelling to Metz (yesterday) as they looked to keep pace with Ligue 1 leaders Lille (the game that they won and claimed the top spot, at least for now - see Ligue 1 table above in an earlier section).

City on the other hand likewise had two important fixtures prior to this Semi Final meeting in Paris, starting with a visit to Aston Villa on Wednesday which was all the more important due to the loss to Leeds in the league last time out so consolidation of our lead at the top and getting back to winning ways was important. Then this weekend we have the EFL Cup Final.

How did the two teams get on this week? Paris booked their place in the French Cup semi-finals with a comfortable 5-0 home win against Angers on Wednesday 21st April. Mauro Icardi got his second hat-trick for the club with fourth being an own goal and a Neymar finish completing the scoring. Kylian Mbappé then scored twice yesterday but limped off injured as PSG won 3-1 at Metz (but latest reports have him declared fit for the game against us). Mbappé showed his pace to get an early opener and, after Metz had levelled; he made it 2-1 with an opportunist effort just before the hour. Just after Mbappé had been replaced, Mauro Icardi's 89th-minute Panencka penalty ensured Paris went top overnight.


As for City ... I can't say about the Cup Final yet (as that game is only later on today and I am drafting this slightly earlier on Sunday) and as little is said about our FA Cup semi-final last weekend the better. On Wednesday though, the same night PSG was involved in their Cup quarter-final, we were away at Villa ... where we went behind within the first half-a-minute, but a superb team goal (at the end of which was our star boy Phil the Foden) and a second one soon after that by Rodri turned the tables before John Stones’ dismissal just before the break made matters a little complicated. However, Villa lost their man advantage when Matty Cash lost his head a bit after being given a run around too many times by Phil Foden and was shown two yellows within three minutes of each other. That victory leaves us 11 points clear at the top of the table (as of Sunday morning, before United play away at Leeds later on today) ... and well in control of the Premier League.

Looking Ahead

The game on Wednesday won't be a walk in the Parc (des Princes) ... they are slightly more experienced in the Champions League later stages now and were the finalists just a few months ago in that late summer edition of last season's tournament in Portugal. Plus like I said at the start, this time they are in the thick of things at the domestic front so the team hasn't dropped any intensity which is something they have struggled with collectively in the past.

City on the other hand isn't at the peak of their powers that saw us go on that in. cre. di. ble. run between January and March. The recent losses against Leeds and Chelsea are fresh in our minds but they both can be discounted due to much changed line-ups and perhaps too much focus on this competition instead. This is only the second time in our history that we have made it to the Semi Finals of the Champions League and first under Guardiola in his fifth season with us. Before that Pep failed at the Semi Finals stage with Bayern three seasons running so he looks well determined this time around to not only get us to the Semi Finals (which he has) but would certainly be motivated to take us beyond as well.





The Line-ups

It is almost impossible to predict a Pep line-up or the opposition's formation whom we don't see week-in week-out ... but basing on injury news and seeing how the two teams lined up in their respective Quarter Finals just a few weeks ago, I guess we would see PSG line up in their favoured 4-2-3-1 and City sticking to their usual very fluid 4-3-3 formation with KdB as the false-nine up front ... please, please, please, please Pep don't do something strange now or try that double pivot again to try and match their 4-2-3-1 as that just doesn't work for us or suit the personnel we have.


Paris Saint-Germain

Navas
Dagba, Marquinhos (C), Kimpembe, Diallo
Gueye, Paredes
Di María, Neymar, Draxler
Mbappé



Manchester City


Ederson
Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko
Silva, Rodri, Gündoğan
Mahrez, De Bruyne (C), Foden


As much as the focus will be up front where we could do with the individual brilliance of Mahrez, the ever-dependable KdB or the shining star in Foden ... the single most important person in our line-up above who will be the reason we get to our first Champions League final, in my humble opinion will be Rúben dos Santos Gato Alves Dias ... and the guy next to him!




Match Prediction

Neymar is going to score one, or at the very least going to dive for one (pen) ... Mbappé is going to score one, as he is just in that kind of form (and let’s hope and pray that it’s just one) ... Foden on other hand is our in-form player, so I'd like to think he is going to get at least one ... and KdB just always gets one against them, so that’s another for us!


That is four goals right there between the usual suspects. Normally when a game is this hyped-up or suspected of a goals galore, it ends up in a boring nil-nil ... I very much doubt this one will go that way though ... and I’d happily take two away goals for us and no lead for them in the first leg.

Paris Saint-Germain 2 - 2 Manchester City

 

CmonCity92

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CITY
I think Pep goes with Dias/Laporte. We need Dias at his natural position,RCB, vs that attack of PSG. It's amazing we don't talk more about Dias playing LCB the majority of time more just because he's been so solid there.
 

Blu3m00n91

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These players are fucking hungry for this cup. After today they’re gonna be fired up even more. Bring it on.

Ederson; Walker Dias Laporte Zinc; Rodri Gundo Bernardo; Foden KDB Mahrez
 
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