Manchester City vs. PSG Odds
|Manchester City Odds||-143|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+140 / -175)|
|Day | Time||Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Monday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Manchester City turned the Champions League semifinal around in the second half against Paris Saint-Germain in last week’s opening leg, scoring two goals to grab the 2-1 win at Parc des Princes.
That gave Cityzens a crucial edge — and two away goals — entering Tuesday’s final leg against the Parisians at Etihad Stadium.
PSG found plenty of success in the first half of that first meeting, picking its moments to press Manchester City and prevent sustained periods of possession. However, they weren’t able to sustain that performance over the entire 90 minutes. The Cityzens’ goals were flukes in how they scored them, but the Parisians melted down and were unable to generate any real chances.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino’s side now needs a two-goal win or a one-goal victory, while scoring at least three goals, to advance. Manchester City was able to stifle Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, holding them to a combined 0.11 expected goals.
The Cityzens’ first-leg win excised a lot of demons of years past. Manager Pep Guardiola made some tactical decisions that didn’t work out in the first half, as the visitors were unable to generate chances and nearly conceded a few times from corners and counters. They were able to corral Neymar and Mbappé, but still lost the xG battle.
So many times in recent games, variance has run against the Cityzens in UCL play. This time, a cross found its way into the goal and a free kick went through PSG’s porous wall. Now, Guardiola and his team are in control of the tie.
Guardiola probably won’t change much from the first leg, except maybe starting Oleksandr Zinchenko over Joao Cancelo at left back after Cancelo was toasted defensively in the first half. Cancelo was dribbled past three times in the opening 60 minutes, while Zinchenko registered two successful tackles in the final 30 minutes.
Manchester City will be weary of PSG’s ability to counter it for chances, with Mbappé and Neymar are unlikely to remain as quiet as they were in the opening leg. The Cityzens will want to exert their typical control, but Pochettino isn’t going to let his team go away quietly.
This could look a lot like the second leg of the Tottenham Hotspur-Manchester City quarterfinal in 2019, when Spurs found abilities to counter and produce chances while also being defensively vulnerable.
Idrissa Gana Gueye’s 71st-minute red card puts Pochettino in a difficult spot when choosing his midfield. Gueye isn’t what he used to be as a midfield destroyer, but his ability to win the ball and break up play is important for this occasionally vulnerable PSG defense. He had nine successful pressures (most of any PSG player) and four tackles in 76 minutes of the opening leg before being sent off.
Pochettino will likely turn to Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes and either Julian Draxler or Ander Herrera in his midfield. None of them are as good at tackles, interceptions or ball pressure as Gueye is in that role and it will make them vulnerable to Manchester City’s possession structures.
Pochettino will probably have to open his team up and look to outscore Manchester City, as he did in the first leg of the quarterfinal against Bayern Munich. This could lead to goals and plenty of chances at either end. For example, if he chooses to start Draxler, PSG could put seven bodies behind the ball with Neymar, Mbappé, Draxler and Angel Di Maria looking to break out in transition against the Cityzens.
The Parisians have the edge on set pieces, as they showed in the first leg. PSG has to go for the victory, which will leave them being less conservative off the ball and taking more chances in the second leg.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Manchester City can lose this game by a goal and still advance, but it would also happily settle for a tie. The Cityzens don’t need to win the game, so that will change how manager Guardiola approaches things. He’s likely to not play a striker yet again, thus looking to control the game through the midfield with periods of conservative possession.
At plus-money, I like PSG to avoid defeat in this match and get at least a tie. Although I don’t believe Pochettino’s side will turn the tie around and advance, there’s value in backing it to avoid defeat.
Pick: PSG +0.5 (+110 or better)