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PSG vs Manchester City — 5 Key Battles to watch out for | UEFA Champions League 2020/21

FC Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One
FC Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One
Sai Teja
ANALYST
Modified 27 Apr 2021

French champions Paris Saint-Germain made it to their first-ever UEFA Champions League final last year, but they will have to get past the mighty Manchester City to do so this season.

Pep Guardiola's sky blue juggernaut appears to be simply unstoppable on their rampant path to glory this year as they're a formidable unit offensively as well as on the defensive front. They currently lead the Premier League table by a whopping ten points with just five games left to go.

The Cityzens travel to the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, where PSG haven't been particularly at their best. Mauricio Pochettino's men have lost five of their eight Ligue 1 games and have failed to win their last two UCL fixtures in Paris, and were beaten in their campaign opener by Manchester United at the same venue.

However, the likes of Neymar and Mbappe are always a threat to any side in world football, even for a side as impressive as Manchester City — making their upcoming clash with PSG a brilliant prospect.

On that note, here are five key battles to look forward to during the game.


#5 Layvin Kurzawa vs Riyad Mahrez

RB Leipzig v Paris Saint-Germain: Group H - UEFA Champions League
RB Leipzig v Paris Saint-Germain: Group H - UEFA Champions League

Riyad Mahrez took some time to settle into life at Manchester City, but once he did, there's been no looking back. The Algerian has gone on to become one of the most pivotal players for the Cityzens' attack and he's been in excellent touch for Guardiola's side as well.

With Abdou Diallo unlikely to return to fitness for the game, Layvin Kurzawa is likely to be the man chosen to play at left-back. Kurzawa recently returned from injury and played over two quarters of their most recent league game against Metz, suggesting that he could be in line to start the game over Mitchell Bakker.

Kurzawa will be tasked with dealing with the immense threat carried by Mahrez, given that he completes nearly two dribbles a game at a 68% success rate. Manchester City's tricky winger also averages 8.67 progressive carries per game, so the French full-back will have to keep a watchful eye on Mahrez.


Presnel Kimpembe vs Phil Foden

Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 3: Leg Two

Predicting Manchester City's attacking set-up has proven to be a notoriously difficult task in the past, given Guardiola's love for unconventional choices in this regard. However, given Gabriel Jesus' terrible run of form (six goals in 15 games), Phil Foden could potentially reprise his role as their false nine, similar to what he played against Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup final.

With Marquinhos ruled out of the game, the onus of blunting the Englishman's threat will fall on Presnel Kimpembe. The French star was one of their unsung heroes during their run to the final last year and has stepped in to captain the side in Marquinhos' absence.

He's been superb for PSG and has a massive task on his hands as Foden has proven to be a tough player to stop in recent weeks. Foden scored two late winners in his last two UCL appearances for Manchester City to fire them into the semi-finals and will hope to do the same against PSG as well. Only three active players have created more chances in the UCL than him this season (15).


Also read: 5 Players who could replace Fernandinho at Manchester City

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Published 27 Apr 2021
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