The business end of the season is upon us as the final four of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League is upon us.
Two mouth-watering clashes make up the semi-finals, as Chelsea take on Real Madrid for the first time ever while Paris Saint-Germain will take on Manchester City in the other game.
We’ve done predictions for every knockout tie in the competition so far, so we continue here with the two most exciting attacking sides left in the competition as the Cityzens take on the Parisians.
PSG come into the game having eliminated two of the pre-tournament favourites for the competition, beating both Barcelona and Bayern Munich away from home to be able to progress despite not winning the second leg of both games.
Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show, scoring five times in those ties as Mauricio Pochettino’s team showed a brilliant counter-attacking style over the four games while also mixing in their ball retaining abilities where needed.
They managed to dispatch of Barcelona without Neymar, who was at his scintillating best against Bayern, and Manchester City will have to be at their absolute peak to be able to deal with those two in full flow.
PSG will thankfully be able to count on Marco Verratti and Marquinhos once again too, who missed out through injury and COVID-19 last time out while Mauro Icardi is also fit and in goalscoring form once again. It will be interesting to see which front line Pochettino chooses to go with and whether he opts to try and keep the ball in midfield with City or just soak up pressure and defend.
City on the other hand made it through to this stage of the tournament with a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Moenchengladbach, before surviving a scare against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals thanks to a late Phil Foden goal in both legs.
Guardiola’s side will be coming in to this one on the back of winning the Carabao Cup for a fourth successive year with a 1-0 win at Wembley against Tottenham, where they were dominant throughout.
Defensively they have been one of the best sides in Europe this season, and they will need all of that during this tie against one of the better attacking outfits on the continent. Going forward they have been excellent too, with the lack of a natural centre forward leading the line often leaving defences with nobody to mark and causing issues.
Kevin De Bruyne and Verratti in the middle of the park will be a terrific battle, while Pochettino will almost certainly look to his thrilling win back when he was the Spurs manager as inspiration on how to get the Paris club to consecutive finals.
This is truly set up to be one of the most mouth-watering semi-finals in recent memory and over two legs either team could come away with a win and nobody would be surprised.
In goal both number ones are excellent, while the defences are evenly matched. You can argue that PSG have the better centre-back options, while City without a doubt have the better full-backs. In midfield the options are pretty even, while in attack it’s probably fair to give the nod to PSG.
The way that City play with the vast majority of possession and stretching the pitch will definitely suit them, but we have seen how they can struggle against teams who are potent on the counter attack. Their record against Manchester United shows you that, and PSG are best described as Man United on steroids with their style of play.
It’s an incredibly tough game to call. PSG’s style is tailor made for playing away against a side like City, while at home they have shown an ability to mix it up and be solid defensively but also take the game to their opponent when needed.
Overall, I won’t be surprised whoever goes through but I give the edge to Paris Saint-Germain’s frightening attack.
Paris SG 1-1 Man City
Man City 1-2 Paris SG
(Paris Saint-Germain to progress 3-2 on aggregate)