MATCH PREVIEW: MANCHESTER CITY VS PSG, CLASH FOR THE SUMMIT OF GROUP A REACHES PIVOTAL POINT

The race for the top-spot in Group A faces its most intriguing battle yet as host .

’s side have been running rampant of late, winning six out of nine games since their loss in Paris. Despite that defeat, City remain in pole position with nine points and their 3-0 demolition of Everton at the weekend further underlined their dominance across all areas.

 

Last season’s finalists remain on course to make it deep into the competition, but the biggest highlight has been how threatening they look even without a central striker. Joao Cancelo has exploded into one of the best full-backs in Europe currently, while Gabriel Jesus’ switch to the right flank has been extremely profitable too. They will be keen to reverse their shutout defeat and seal qualification as group winners.

 

A lot has been going on with PSG since they beat the Cityzens in Paris and Lionel Messi opened his scoring account. has now emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace the fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. Gigi Donnarumma has publicly voiced his displeasure at having to split game time with  Keylor Navas.

 

Messi has himself been accused of lacking full commitment to the team, while Neymar is on a dry run himself. Their defence has been shaky all season, conceding regularly to lesser oppositions. Nevertheless, PSG will be hoping for a repeat of their earlier encounter in order to safeguard their own passage to the knockouts.

 

TEAM NEWS

Kevin De Bruyne’s contracted covid on international duty and will miss out once again. Ferran Torres is a long term absentee while Jack Grealish is racing against time to get fit.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo; Jesus, Foden, Sterling

 

Donnarumma missed out in PSG’s last encounter but should be okay to play. Presnel Kimpembe remains out while Sergio Ramos should make the matchday squad.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Kehrer, Marquinhos, Bernat; Gueye, Herrera, Veratti; Mbappe, Messi, Di Maria

 

GAMECHANGERS

The rejuvenation of Bernardo Silva this season has been one of the highlights of City’s season. He was thought to be heading for the exit in the summer but no suitable offers came. Since then, Guardiola has trusted Silva more and more in a new role.

 

Playing in the midfield three on the right, his role has evolved into pulling the strings and setting up attacks more concertedly. He has four goals and one assist, but the biggest threat for PSG comes from his intelligent runs. Silva’s ability to carry the ball over long distances and bypass defenders during set-pieces has helped City add another dimension to their forward threat.

 

It will be on Gueye and Herrera to watch Silva closely and track the runner during transitions.

It is impossible to look past Kylian Mbappe’s masterful impact on the team, even though it could be his last season in France. The 22-year-old has eight goals and 10 assists already across all competitions as he guns for more silverware. He had a goal and assist each against Nantes, proving a nightmare for the opposing backline.

 

Mbappe’s speed and guile are the two most fearsome factors, which City will do well to keep in mind. They have an extremely attack-minded midfield except Rodri, who might be the most at risk. Mbappe can outrun the Spanish defensive midfielder and make a charge at the centre-backs often. Given how Walker and Cancelo are also speed merchants, Mbappe is most likely to play centrally.

 

PREDICTIONS

A repeat of the scoreline from last time looks unlikely given the present situation surrounding both teams, and City will look to avenge their defeat. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for Manchester City.

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