Six talking points ahead of MCFC vs PSG

Sport360 staff 12/04/2016

Manchester City come into the second leg with the upper hand in the tie after grabbing two away goals at the Parc des Princes last week.

City are bidding to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time, while French champions PSG graced the last four once in 1995.

Here, Sport360 presents six talking points ahead of the game at the Etihad Stadium.

Zlatan in the shop window

The Swede is out of contract and is weighing up interest. His ability is unquestionable but clubs are wary of committing a huge chunk of their wage bill to a 34-year-old. That could all change with a few elite showings in the Champions League, further enhancing his status.

Defensive doubts

Despite all the riches afforded on both squads, the first leg saw two rotten defensive displays. City’s Kompany-less problems have been constant, while PSG’s lack of Ligue 1 competition means their backline can be taken by surprise. With two fine frontlines, whoever produces something near a capable showing in defence should triumph.

Stopping the midfield maestros

David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura represent some of the most aesthetically pleasing playmakers in world football (let’s hope Marco Verratti is declared fit). Both teams, though, are also equipped with midfield destroyers – Fernandinho and Motta – whose displays will dramatically shape the contest.

Concerns over Joe Hart

As England No1, Hart is subject to more focus and criticism than most keepers in the Premier League, but he’s been at fault for each of City’s last three goals conceded – including the two in Paris. He has traditionally produced some match-defining performances in Europe and with issues at the back, City need him at his best.

How will PSG cope without Matuidi?

The dynamic French international is suspended, robbing PSG of their legs and lungs in the middle of the park. With Verratti‘s status unclear, how PSG control the midfield will be a conundrum for Laurent Blanc. Motta and Rabiot are very much passers, but the more physical Benjamin Stambouli is also an option.

Flying full-backs

As the first leg emphasised, City’s two full-backs like to sit a little deeper (assuming Kolarov doesn’t start), while PSG’s wide defenders attack at will. Serge Aurier appears to have worked his way back into Blanc’s affections and expect him to bomb forward, along with Maxwell. Can City take advantage or will they exercise caution?

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Adidas Gameday Plus: Bale, Torres and Koke

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Ahead of the Champions League quarter-final second legs, adidas caught up with Gareth Bale, Koke and Oliver Torres.

Real Madrid star Bale gives his best advice for crossing at speed, before explaining what it’s like to be playing with some of the best strikers in the world.

Elsewhere, Spanish pass-masters Koke and Oliver Torres reveal what it’s like to play in the Champions League and the sacrifices that need to be made to play at the highest level.

For more videos from adidas, visit their YouTube page.

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European round-up: Wins for Real, Bayern & Juve

Sport360 staff 10/04/2016
Juventus, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich were all winners on Saturday.

Barcelona suffered a second consecutive La Liga defeat to blow the title race wide open as Mikel Oyarzabal’s header handed Real Sociedad a 1-0 win over the European champions on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo also kept Real Madrid in the hunt a further point back in third with a goal and two assists in a 4-0 rout of Eibar.

Pressure is now firmly on the Catalans after tasting defeat for the second time in a week after seeing a 39-game unbeaten run snapped by Real Madrid last weekend.

Barcelona have now not won in their last seven visits to Sociedad and lost each of their last four league meetings in San Sebastian.

Just as in last season’s 1-0 win under the tutelage of David Moyes, Sociedad made the perfect start as 18-year-old Oyarzabal soared to power home Xabi Prieto’s cross into the far corner.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich warmed up for Wednesday’s crucial Champions League quarter-final at Benfica with a 3-1 win at Stuttgart on Saturday to maintain their iron-grip on the Bundesliga title race, while a second-half brace by Lucas Moura handed PSG a 2-0 win away to Guingamp.

In Serie A Paul Pogba struck a second-half winner as Juventus continued their march towards a record-equalling fifth Serie A title with a 2-1 victory at AC Milan on Saturday.

Juventus, who last won five titles on the trot in 1935, are now nine points clear of second-placed Napoli before they host basement side Verona on Sunday.

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