Mark O’Haire – Man City v PSG – Preview & Tips
Man City v PSG
It’s crunch time in the Champions League Quarter Finals with Man City hosting PSG in second leg action on Tuesday night
Manchester City v PSG, Tuesday 12 April 2016 (19.45), BT Sport Europe
Manchester City are 8/11 to seal their first ever Champions League semi-final position having left Paris with a 2-2 draw last Wednesday night. But truth be told, the Citizens were a touch fortunate to depart the French capital level.
Profligate finishing from the hosts and an opportunistic counter-attacking formula – City scored with their only shots-on-target – give the Sky Blues a fantastic platform to progress but can Manuel Pellegrini’s men be trusted?
In many ways, the first leg highlighted both the qualities and the deficiencies of these two ambitious sides with offensive threat and defensive howlers both evident. And it wouldn’t be a huge shock if history repeated itself just six days later at the Etihad.
Man City have saved their best performances of 2015/16 for the continent as their Premier League record against the top-half this term reads a rather unappealing W2-D3-L9. In Champions League knockout football, the Citizens have W1-D2-L4. And that’s before mentioning their lack of clean sheets.
Last week’s 2-2 draw ensured the English outfit have recorded just two shutouts in 24 Champions League ties, including just one in 2015/16. That solitary clean sheet came against Dynamo Kyiv in the last round at the Etihad and played at a snail’s pace with the tie all but over from the first leg.
Skipper Vincent Kompany is a confirmed absentee and Pellegrini’s top heavy side could easily come unstuck against PSG’s crafted blend of valuable experience and immense attacking talent.
So whilst I expect City to approach this encounter in much the same vein as in Paris, they’ll know a home goal will cement their grip on the tie. Having the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero available ensures there’s more than enough firepower to grab a goal.
Since 2012/13, only Barcelona (as well as that 0-0 with Dynamo Kiev) have stopped the hosts from scoring in 15 Champions League games at the Etihad – 10 of those fixtures featured Over 2.5 Goals winners and 13 proved profitable for Both Teams To Score backers.
Taking 2015/16 in isolation, the Sky Blues have seen their continental clashes produce eight winning BTTS bets. And although a repeat is far too skinny to support, there are other ways in which we can support a goal-heavy second leg.
Over 3.5 Goals has been chalked up at 31/20 – a selection that’s paid out in three of Manchester City’s last four Champions League games, as well as five of PSG’s nine in this competition this season.
Visiting boss Laurent Blanc admitted in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s match that his side weren’t clinical enough in the final third, nor strong enough in their own penalty box. And the Frenchman’s gamble to field Serge Aurier backfired.
David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi are suspended here and the latter is certainly a big miss. But Marquinhos can replace calamity Luiz whilst Gregory van der Wiel should takeover from Aurier at right-back. It remains to be seen whether Marco Verratti will be chanced despite being less than 90% fit.
The Ligue 1 champions rested a collection of their stars in their weekend win against Guingamp and won at Stamford Bridge in the last-16 without Verratti. Having scored at least twice in each of their last five European outings and won 10 of their last 11 road trips across all competitions, they won’t fear a trip to Manchester.
Blanc’s boys have triumphed in three of their four away days in the Champions League this season – only Real Madrid stopped the PSG express and on that occasion Les Parisians were much the better outfit. But Juventus are the only European side to leave the Etihad with a win so I’ll happily leave the Match Odds markets alone.
There’s no way I can vouch for City stopping PSG scoring without Kompany tidying things up and with the French travellers shipping goals in eight of their last 11 matches – only shutting out Ligue 1 strugglers Guingamp, Troyes and Montpellier – I’ll get goals onside and back Over 3.5 Goals here.
Over 3.5 Goals @ 31/20