Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City, the big one. This time the two teams meet in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, not the group stages of the UEFA Cup – as was the case on 3rd December 2008. The City side that day featured the likes of Tal Ben-Haim, Jo and Darius Vassell – all from the start. How things have changed since then, with the triumvirate of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all expected to start tomorrow. Coincidentally, PSG’s fortunes have also followed a similar upward trajectory to City’s, as both teams now find themselves in near identical positions in European football. PSG have arguably enjoyed more sustained progress in Europe’s premier competition than City, but I’m (relatively) certain Manuel Pellegrini’s side will have something to say about that at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
The big team news is that Joe Hart is fit for tomorrow’s game after coming through training on Tuesday morning without any problems. Hart has travelled with the rest of the squad to Paris, and is expected to replace fan-favourite Willy Caballero in goal. The other player to return from injury is Fabian Delph, who could play a big part tomorrow night given the poignant absence of Yaya Toure.
PSG though, have a central midfield casualty of their own – Marco Verratti is out with a calf problem, which is a huge blow to the Parisians. He’s the player that makes their midfield tick. Having said that though, they’re still extremely well-stocked in central midfield. I must admit, I am unsure as to whether Fernando and Fernandinho alone can deal with a midfield three of Rabiot – Motta – Matuidi.
Toure, Kompany + Sterling absent from open training at the CFA this morning. Delph and Hart did train though, and are in contention for PSG.
— City Watch (@City_Watch) April 5, 2016
Given our injuries, the team pretty much picks itself. Samir Nasri is ineligible for Champions League, so Kevin De Bruyne will likely continue in the #10 position. The big call, I suppose, is whether to start Fabian Delph and play 4-3-3? But given the delays he’s experienced in struggling to recover from his achilles problem, I’d suggest that’s unlikely.
Bearing all that in mind, here is the team I think Pellegrini will go with:
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