PSG v Man City: Underrated hosts the smart bet against Guardiola's visitors

James Eastham assesses the odds ahead of this mouthwatering clash in Paris on Tuesday night...

Messi not yet certain to start

Lionel Messi has trained ahead of the game and is expected to make the PSG squad. He's 50-50 to start. If Messi is named on the bench Mauro Icardi would be the replacement as Angel Di Maria is suspended. Marco Verratti - who hasn't played since September 5 - is also likely to be in the squad. His chances of starting the game are a little slimmer. In all other positions the hosts should be at full strength.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones will be contenders for Manchester City after making the squad for their 1-0 win at Chelsea at the weekend. There's competition in attack, where Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres are battling with Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish for places in the starting line-up.

City clear favourites to win

Most may see PSG and Manchester City as rivals towards the summit of European football but the market disagrees. Even though the game is being held in Paris, City are clear favourites to win. Pep Guardiola's visitors are as short as 2.38 to to collect all three points, with PSG 3.15 and The Draw 3.7.

Yes, that's right - despite home advantage and the potential presence of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on the pitch at the same time, PSG go into this fixture against last season's beaten finalists as clear underdogs.

Is City's obvious favouritism justified? Looking at last season alone, then yes. City ran out easy winners over PSG in the semi-final of this competition, with a 2-1 first leg victory at Parc des Princes and a 2-0 triumph in the return leg. Memories of such recent superiority may help City's players as they take to the pitch on this occasion.

Yet there are other valid reasons to believe the visitors' short odds are, well, simply too short. Look back a little further in the competition's recent history and a City victory may not be as straightforward as the market suggests.

PSG's home record in the group stage is generally excellent: it reads W11-D3-L1 over the past five seasons. In that time they have hosted and beaten some of Europe's heavyweight sides, including Real Madrid (3-0, 2019-20), Liverpool (2-1, 2018-19) and Bayern Munich (3-0, 2017-18).

During the same period - i.e. the five years that Guardiola has been in charge - City's Champions League group stage away record is W8-D5-L2. The fact that they have failed to win 47% of their group stage games under Guardiola shows that a win for the away side is far from a foregone conclusion. It's also significant that City have yet to produce a clean sweep of three group stage away wins in a single season under their Spanish boss.

Looked at in this light, the prices on a PSG win - or, alternatively, on City failing to win - become more appealing. PSG Draw No Bet is worth considering: with this selection, you'll get your money back if the game ends in a draw. Alternatively, consider back the Draw in a game where the sides may be better-matched than current prices would have you believe.

Look out for late goals

For those looking for an in-play selection, it's worth noting that PSG go into this game on a run of scoring late goals in their matches. In their last three league matches, they've scored in the 89th minute or later.

Julian Draxler scored on 89 minutes in their 2-0 win over Montpellier at the weekend, while Achraf Hakimi netted a 95th-minute winner at Metz (2-1) during last week's midweek round of fixtures, and Mauro Icardi scored a 93rd minute winner at home to Lyon (2-1) in the set of games before that.

If PSG need or go looking for a goal in the later stages of the game, recent history suggests they know how to conjure one up. Take this into account when assessing, for example, the Under/Over Goals markets as the game heads towards its conclusion. For more on using the Betfair Exchange for trading, click here.

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