UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals Team Preview: Manchester City

Pep Guardiola 's side saw their hopes of winning four trophies come to an end as Chelsea beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Yaksh Author

Updated - 20 April 2021 12:00 pm

If any football fanatic would have to pick a team to battle out against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champion League, it would be Manchester City. Heading into their first semi-final since 2016 and first under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City swiftly got past Borussia Dortmund with a 4-2 aggregate victory, winning both legs 2-1. City would be hoping to clinch their maiden Champion League’s title under Pep Guardiola. 

Guardiola would be in charge of his eighth Champions League semi-finals fixture against Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain. Having played 3 matches in the past, Manchester City hold the upper hand with one win and 2 draws. Manchester City have won nine of their 10 UEFA Champions League games this season, 2 more than any of the other three semi-finalists. No English side has ever won 10+ games in the same campaign since 2003-04. 

Players to Watch out for- 

Manchester City’s marquee player Kevin De Bruyne has a huge role to play if the team is to propel to their maiden UEFA Champions League Final. Kevin De Bruyne has had a direct hand in 8 goals in his last 7 UEFA Champions League appearances in the knockout stages with 4 goals and 4 assists. He also scored in both legs of Manchester City’s Quarter-Final tie with PSG in the 2015-16 campaign. 

Phil Foden has emerged as a match winner, given that coach Pep Guardiola has continuously trusted his abilities and talent. Having replaced Rahim Sterling in the City starting XI, Foden’s versatility and goal scoring ability can be used to cause major blows to PSG. 

Recent Form- 

Speaking about the last 5 previous games, Manchester City have displayed 2 opposite sides. On one hand they played some of their best football to thrash Borussia Dortmund. While on the other hand, Manchester City lost to Chelsea 1-0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final and also lost to Leeds 2-1 in the Premier League. In both these games Manchester City’s attack had no answer and were constantly lurking in the mid-field just to dominate possession.

How Can Manchester City beat PSG? 

One thing is common between both these teams, they have been fueled with foreign money to convert themselves as a global brand. PSG’s strength lies in their trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel DiMaria. While PSG failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games and progressed against Bayern Munich on away goals, still their trio caused Bayern a lot of issues at the back. 

Talking about the same, PSG has the ability to feed of their opponent’s energy. While their opponent tends to become vicious, it is PSG who end up scoring, courtesy of their offensive pace. This is exactly what Manchester City need not do. There has been no defender that has managed to see off both Mbappe and Neymar, while they come deep for the ball and attack from the flanks. 

Manchester City’s mid-field is their USP, with Kevin De Bruyne being utilized to the fullest, the team has developed the habit of writing the script in every game they play. That has caused them to win 28 of their last 30 games in all competitions. The team functions collectively than a one-man show, be it Bernando Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez or Foden. Their mid-field more often than not finds the loophole in the opposition such is the intricacy of the movements and the frequency of their prods. Guardiola’s men play calmly and are also very composed on the ball, looking for weaknesses in the opposition defence. 

Knowing PSG does not have the fastest or the most compact defensive unit, City mid-fielders could stamp their authority all over the tie using their creativity over 180 minutes. 

Manchester City’s battle to the end 

Having said that, after being knocked out of the FA Cup Semi-Final via the hands of Chelsea, Manchester City would be hoping to clinch their maiden Champion League’s title under Pep Guardiola. Not only that, within April alone City would be playing a Carabao Cup Final and also are a couple of wins away from winning the Premier League.