After adding yet another Carabao Cup to the trophy cabinet on Sunday afternoon, Manchester City travel to Paris to face Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG for what is one of the most important fixtures in the club’s history.
Manchester City will need to defeat a superstar-laden squad boasting the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe should the Blues wish to progress to their first-ever Champions League final, and given the experience and quality that the Blues possess, that is certainly a possibility.
Despite disappointing slip-ups against Chelsea and Leeds in recent weeks, Manchester City looked back to their domineering best against Aston Villa in midweek and against Spurs at Wembley, and given the attacking prowess that PSG possess, Pep’s side will need to be defensively secure whilst also attempting to find what could be a vital away goal.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game!
Manchester City head into Wednesday’s fixture with a fully-fit squad, and with Champions League success being Pep Guardiola’s absolute priority, expect the Catalan coach to name his strongest side.
Pep Guardiola will face a dilemma over his centre-back pairing selection as Aymeric Laporte has been in strong form recently, whilst John Stones has looked increasingly shaky in recent weeks - with his disastrous performance against Villa being the latest in a string of uninspiring showings. Yet whilst Stones has been incredible throughout much of the season, Pep Guardiola cannot afford to take risks given what is at stake and with Laporte having played excellently for weeks now, logic dictates that the Frenchman should retain his place.
PSG meanwhile are set to be without Juan Bernat – who hasn’t featured since September owing to an ACL injury, whilst French superstar Kylian Mbappe looks set to feature despite being substituted off last Saturday, after suffering a blow to his thigh with Mauricio Pochettino describing the knock as “nothing serious”.
Manchester City head into the fixture having won eight and lost two of their previous 10 matches, with defeats to Leeds and Chelsea being the blotches on the record.
The Blues are averaging 1.7 goals per game and have conceded just six in their previous 10 games - showing that despite the goals seemingly drying up compared to previous seasons under Pep Guardiola, City’s strength lies in their defence.
PSG head into the fixture in similar form, having won seven of their previous 10 fixtures, with defeats to Nantes, Lille and Bayern Munich demonstrating that the French club are very much a beatable side.
The Ligue 1 giants are averaging 2.6 goals per game across their last 10 matches and have conceded 12 goals in that time, suggesting that whilst they are strong going forward, they are vulnerable defensively and will concede chances.
The stats suggest that whilst PSG are more prolific going forward than Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s side are much stronger defensively and their ability to keep the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe quiet may prove pivotal in who advances.
The Last Meeting
Wednesday night's clash will be just the fourth time Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City will have played one another, with the Blues unbeaten in matches against the French outfit (One Win, Two Draws).
The last meeting between the two teams came at the Etihad Stadium in April 2016, on one of the most memorable nights in European football in East Manchester.
A Kevin de Bruyne wonder strike helped Manchester City to narrow 1-0 victory on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, to reach their first ever Champions League final.
Pep's Pre-Match Thoughts
Speaking ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola was keen to highlight how blessed he was to reach this stage of the competition for the first time as Manchester City manager stating, "It's the second time this club are there. We are not the elite in this competition but we want to be there. When the owners took over a decade ago, they took steps to improve in England first, then this."
He continued, "The owners, managers, staff got this position right now. Every time we play Champions League, we are lucky to live right now where we are. Before isn't the right word, right now I'm incredibly happy to travel with this club to Paris to be ourselves and win the game."
As for Mauricio Pochettino in the PSG camp, the Argentine was full of praise for Guardiola and his Manchester City side, stating, "It's one team vs another, not a personal battle or game. It's PSG vs Manchester City. Two very good teams. Talk about Guardiola, one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. I admire him because of the legacy he's building for football."
"City is one of the greatest teams in the world, with the best coach. Is it going to be tougher than Bayern? I don’t know. We will see. There are a lot of theories, but we are calm. We know we need to fight a lot to beat a great team."
German official Felix Brych will officiate the tie at the Parc Des Princes, and Wednesday shall see the sixth time he has overseen a Manchester City match, with the most recent occasion being a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in August 2020.
Brych will be joined by compatriots Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp as linesmen, whilst Daniel Siebert will serve as the fourth official.
As usual, VAR will be in operation and will be overseen by Marco Fritz and Bastian Dankert as his assistant.
Where To Watch
For viewers in the UK, Wednesday night's clash will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm ahead of an 8:00pm kick-off in the French capital.
Matchday With City Xtra
Lewis and Jordan will be live on the City Xtra Youtube Channel with the live watch-along; providing you with all the pre-match and in-game discussion before giving you the chance to have your say on the post-match phone-in show.
Meanwhile, live coverage of the Champions League semi-final first-leg will be available across City Xtra’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as post-match news and reaction on our website.
You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra