PSG vs Manchester City | Tuesday 28th September 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Two powerhouses of European football clash at Parc des Princes when PSG welcome Man City to the French capital. So far, it’s a trophy that eludes both despite their riches, although they’ve finished as the runners-up in the last two seasons.
Man City got off to the perfect start with an entertaining 6-3 win over RB Leipzig on matchday one. But Mauricio Pochettino saw his side held to a 1-1 draw by Club Brugge – a game that saw Lionel Messi come close to his first goal for the club.
The Sky Blues arrive in France on the back of an impressive 1-0 win over Chelsea, which saw Pep Guardiola’s side execute the perfect game plan. It saw them restrict the London club to just five shots, none on target and an expected goals (xG) of 0.32.
Meanwhile, the Parisians haven’t lost in Ligue 1 since April – a run of 15 games (W14, D1). But in some of those, they’ve been made to work, including against Metz and Lyon where they’ve needed last-minute winners to pick up maximum points.
The betting angles
This is a repeat of last year’s semi-final, which saw Man City progress 4-1 on aggregate. Guardiola’s side triumphed 2-1 in Paris after second-half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez saw them overturn a first-half deficit.
PSG have now failed to beat City in five attempts (D2, L3). While the French champions have lost their last three at home to English clubs.
With both sides strengthening their already quality attacks over the summer, you have to expect an end-to-end contest.
The first bet for me is Man City to have 14+ shots at 11/10 (Sky Bet). Guardiola’s men fired in 17 on the opening night against Leipzig, hitting the target with eight of those – the joint-most.
So far this season, the Citizens have hit 18, 15, 25, 25, 16, 16, 26 and 15 in all competitions, including covering this line in the weekend win at Chelsea. And I can see Guardiola imploring his players to make a bright start once more and to play on the front foot.
This PSG backline could be vulnerable under pressure, and it’ll certainly be tested up against this high-quality attack. A few times this term, I’ve taken their opponents to have shots against Pochettino’s men.
Two sides who have hit those heights are Troyes (15) and Clermont (14), while PSG have faced 10+ shots in four of six Ligue 1 games. So, with a stronger opposition lining up against them, you must fancy Man City’s chances.
In last season’s competition, PSG conceded 14+ shots in five games, including 16 against Istanbul Basaksehir and 15 v RB Leipzig during the group stages.
Jack Grealish and Mahrez both hit four shots in City’s opener, while Ferran Torres had three. All are likely to be involved in decisive play around the PSG area, so it’s hard to see how the hosts keep them at bay.
14+ at 11/10 (Sky Bet) looks the best way for shots, with other firms starting with higher lines at lower prices!
Now, here’s where things get more interesting with 7/1 and 20/1 pokes.
Unibet have Kevin de Bruyne at 7/1 for a card. And that just looks too big to me. Against the bigger sides, the Belgian isn’t one to shirk the issue and will leave his foot in if things don’t go his way.
PSG’s midfielders love to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, which could well see the fleet-footed Belgian start to get wound up. He’ll either take that out in retaliation with a late foul or show dissent towards the referee, Carlos Del Cerro Grande, and he doesn't stand for messing, just ask Ronald Koeman!
De Bruyne was cautioned in both legs of last season’s meetings, showing this PSG side can wind him up. Plus, we have the benefit of time-wasting on our side here too, as I fully expect City to be in front in the closing stages.
On the ref, the Spanish cardshark has shown 49 yellows and two reds in 16 UCL matches during his career. While domestically, he’s already dished out 16 cautions and dismissed one player in three La Liga games.
That’s not mentioning him racking up a massive 108 yellows and six reds in 21 games last season. So, I expect to see plenty of cards, especially as their last four meetings have seen booking points totals of 85, 65, 40 & 60.
I’ll also point out that the 45-year-old tends to be a good omen for Man City. This will be the sixth time he’s officiated the Citizens in the competition, and they’ve won the previous five.
So, now the 20/1 shout. I’ll put a De Bruyne card in with him to find the back of the PSG net, something he’s excelled at in recent clashes.
The Belgian has bagged in three of his last four versus the French club, including in both of their games at Parc des Princes. We all know his qualities from open-play, as well as set-pieces, so that’s just something of a longshot I’m happy to have onside in what should be an entertaining contest.
PSG vs Manchester City – Manchester City 14+ shots (11/10 Sky Bet)
PSG vs Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne to be carded (7/1 Unibet)
PSG vs Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne to score and be carded (20/1 Paddy Power)