Champions League match preview: PSG v Man City
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Manchester City have a huge opportunity to seal their place in this year’s Champions League final by overcoming French champions and fellow semi-finalists Paris Saint-Germain over two legs. Pep Guardiola’s side have been in imperious form this season, but the Spaniard will face a tough test in keeping the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at bay in Wednesday’s first-leg clash on away turf.
Express Sport takes a look at the City team that could take to the pitch at the Parc des Princes.
Goalkeeper – Ederson
Ederson will line up in between the sticks for the trip to PSG, with the 27-year-old stopper having been Guardiola’s first choice in the Champions League this season.
Backup goalkeeper Zack Steffen kept a clean sheet in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea but is unlikely to be trusted for Wednesday’s monumental clash.
His Brazilian rival has played in all but one of his side’s European outings since the beginning of the campaign, keeping six clean sheets from nine appearances.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to shut out PSG’s formidable attacking threat, with the hosts expected to adopt a 4-2-3-1 system led by Mbappe at the top of the pitch.
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Defence – Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo
Guardiola will be looking to pick his strongest side in Paris with Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo keeping their places from Sunday’s win over Tottenham.
There could be a change at the heart of City’s back four, though, with John Stones likely to replace goal hero Aymeric Laporte.
The Frenchman could be rested on the bench alongside the likes of Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The Premier League champions-elect have conceded just three Champions League goals this season, with two of those coming against Borussia Dortmund, and will be hoping for another impressive showing at the back on Wednesday evening.
Midfield – Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne
City’s midfield options are undoubtedly among the very best in Europe, with Guardiola likely to opt for a forward-thinking selection in order to stand the best chance of snatching at least one away goal.
Rodri should take Fernandinho’s spot in the holding role after the Brazilian played from the start against Tottenham.
He could be flanked by Ilkay Gundogan, who has chipped in with plenty of vital contributions this season, and Kevin de Bruyne.
The latter will be expected to orchestrate City’s attacking play in the final third with his exquisite range of passing, and could prove to be the difference between success and failure over the course of the two legs.
Attack – Mahrez, Foden, Jesus
City have played without an out-and-out striker on a number of recent occasions, but could be set to call on Gabriel Jesus to lead the line against PSG.
The 24-year-old did not feature in Sunday’s cup final and should be primed and ready to take on the challenge of a Champions League semi-final on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden are likely to take up the wide positions.
Both players offer attacking quality in abundance, especially Foden who has thrived under Guardiola’s guidance, and will need to be firing on all cylinders to ensure City carry a welcome advantage into the decisive return leg in six days’ time.
Expected Man City XI to play PSG – Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Jesus.
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