Man City to exact revenge on glass cannons PSG
A huge match with not that much riding on it takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Champions League. Manchester City will be looking to right the wrongs from their 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc Des Princes a couple of months ago, and come into the game off the back of a 3-0 stroll against an Everton side chasing shadows. Meanwhile, the French giants beat Nantes 3-1 despite Keylor Navas' dismissal, so another fixture that promises goals should be on the cards. Read our preview here:
A Rod for your own back
Only a very unlikely set of scorelines can prevent the two titans from reaching the knockout stage, but that doesn't mean they won't be treating the remaining fixtures with the necessary amount of care. Whilst the debate about whether Pep Guardiola should've been more resolute in his and the board's pursuit of a striker in the summer rears its head whenever they draw a blank, they are also very hard to break down, too. One of the chief reasons for that has been the presence of Rodri, nominally at the base of their three-man midfield. Combining aerial prowess at set pieces with excellent passing and the occasional screamer from range (like on Sunday), the Spanish anchorman is one of the most important players in blue, and his presence helps to reassure the more attack-minded contingent that they can push high up to hem their opponents in. Natutrally, this strategy might prove a trifle more difficult against PSG, but their opponents might cede territory to then attempt to hit them on the break. Kevin De Bruyne will be missing due to a positive Covid test, whilst Jasck Grealish could make the bench.
Ram-med into contention
PSG have doubts regarding the fitness of goalkeeper Gio Donnarumma and stopper Presnel Kimpembe, whilst fellow centre back Sergio Ramos might be in line to make his debut in dark blue after leaving Real Madrid in the summer. If selected, he's likely to come up against a similar sort of false nine tactic that were meat and drink to him when Guardiola managed Barcelona, so whilst it's often difficult to contend with, he'll be well-versed in it, and won't be short of support from the midfield trio, all of whom are adept at winning the ball to various degrees. Kylian Mbappé is in scintillating form for both club and country, and this kind of occasion is tailor-made for his pace and skill on the counter. Leo Messi recorded his first Ligue 1 goal at the weekend, and has already shown City in 2021/2022 that he most certainly still has what it takes.
Despite besting Man City and opening up an 11-point gap after just 14 games in their domestic league, there are still murmurs about the job Mauricio Pochettino is doing as head coach. The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjær by rivals United has apparently seen the reactive board at Old Trafford target the former Tottenham Hotspur supremo for the gig next summer, which might be a lot easier to achieve if he isn't able to squash the discontent. Another victory over Pep Guardiola would certainly help, but nothing less than a Champions League final is likely to do. They might have to navigate the knockout stage from a second placed finish in their group, with City looking more solid defensively - betway have odds of 3.10 for a home win with both teams scoring.