Man City picked up an unconvincing win over West Brom at the weekend as they were pinned back late on, but they still got the three points and ever since their 2-2 draw in Paris a week ago they’d have been focussing on this match. PSG also had a slightly lacklustre win on Saturday but they had the luxury of fielding a heavily rotated side having won the league weeks ago.
PSG were the far better side a week ago but the 2-2 result means they are now underdogs to progress. There have been 11 previous 2-2 first leg draws in the Champions League knockout stages and the home side in the second leg has progressed on eight occasions, after a W3-D6-L2 record in the return fixture. Similarly in the Europa League there have been 19 such instances and the home side went through in 12. However, out of these combined 30 ties we have 14 where the away side was higher in our rankings and in that scenario the home team has gone just W2-D7-L5 and progressed in only half. Half these 14 ties had at least three goals but interestingly six of those seven had four or more and all the ‘overs’ happened in the eight games the home side scored in – a scenario that obviously forces the away side to throw caution to the wind.
Man City’s form has been better in Europe than domestically as they’re only hanging onto a top-four spot courtesy of Man Utd having their worst ever Premier League season. In contrast, Juventus are the only side to beat them on the continent this campaign as they’ve reached their first ever Champions League quarter-final. This is despite a suspect defence that has kept just one clean sheet – against Dynamo Kiev in the previous round – and further back they’ve kept just two in their last 24 UCL matches (1.50 gpg against). Furthermore, since 2012/13 they’ve only once prevented their opponents scoring in one of 15 home Champions League games as 10 of the matches had at least three goals and both teams scored in 13, with Barcelona being the only side to shut them out aside from the 0-0 with Dynamo.
So we certainly expect a quality PSG outfit to generate chances and score. They beat Chelsea 2-1 home and away in the previous round and since 2012/13 they’ve won nine of 12 UCL trips to teams below them in our rankings as they only failed to score once. Furthermore, they’ve won 10 of their last 11 away matches in all competitions and in Zlatan Ibrahimovic they have a striker who has scored in five consecutive UCL matches and has 30 goals in just 26 league games this season. However, they are not unbeatable and have conceded in eight of their last 11 matches with the clean sheets all coming against struggling Ligue 1 sides in the shape of Guingamp, Troyes and Montpellier. With David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi suspended they are also missing a couple of important players. In Ligue 1 their clean sheet percentage falls from 49% in Luiz’s 47 starts since the beginning of last season to just 30% otherwise and there looks to be plenty of goals in this one.
We fancy both teams to score and a City goal in particular could really lead to an open game. Second legs in UCL knockout matches average almost half a goal game more than first legs (2.79 vs 2.33) and Over 3.5 looks the way to go here.
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