Ambitious PSG and Manchester City will meet for the first time in a Champions League quarter-final at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Even before the kick-off whistle was blown, the pairing of PSG with Manchester City quickly became dubbed as “El Cashico”. Certainly, not the most original – or even remotely funny – title, but the play on words of the famous “Clasico” does have some merit.
Both Les Parisiens and the Sky Blues have massively wealthy owners who have pumped a lot of cash into these two clubs over the past few seasons. Both PSG and Manchester City had fallen by the wayside before their new owners arrived in 2011 and 2008 respectively. And both the four-time Ligue 1 winners as well as the two-time Premier League champions have been desperate to establish themselves among Europe’s elite.
However, the more “established” sides – and their fans in particular – have not been so keen on the “nouveau riche” crashing their party. Unfortunately for them, PSG and Manchester City have arrived on the European scene, and they are not going away anytime soon. Having got a taste of Champions League football in the modern era, Les Parisiens and the Citizens are eager to make continental competition a regular event season after season.
For Laurent Blanc’s PSG, this will be the fourth consecutive and fifth overall appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals. So far, Les Parisiens have a record of three losses and one victory from their first four quarter-finals ties, with that sole win taking place in the 1994/1995 season when they made it to the semi-finals for the first and only time. In the “modern” era, PSG have had rough luck at this juncture – they have had to place Barcelona twice and Chelsea once, and now again will have to take on English opposition as they chase their first semi-finals appearance in 21 years.
As for Manuel Pellegrini, this is the final season for the Chilean manager at the Etihad. After two frustrating seasons – in which they, too, were thwarted by – yes, you guessed it, Barcelona – Manchester City have finally made it to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
City fans worldwide breathed a collective sigh of relief at finally being paired with someone else besides Barcelona in the round of 16. Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kiev was an opponent that were much easier to handle. Then again, having finished top of their group, Manchester City were “rewarded” with a more favorable foe this time around, but will face a much tougher test against the Ligue 1 champions.
Both PSG and Manchester City will be coming into this match having picked up comfortable wins over the weekend against Nice and Bournemouth respectively. These were much needed results for each side, who lost their last games prior to the international hiatus to Monaco and Manchester United respectively, but in terms of available personnel, Pellegrini unfortunately is at a massive disadvantage.
Unlike Blanc, who will only be missing Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore, Pellegrini will arrive in Paris without first-choice shot-stopper Joe Hart, skipper Vincent Kompany, and influential midfielder Yaya Toure. Although big-money signing Kevin De Bruyne made his return to action in the match against Bournemouth, Pellegrini may not opt to risk the Belgian star for this match in Paris.
One exciting aspect of these two sides is, of course, their exciting attacking prospects. There will be Sergio Aguero who will be supporter by David Silva, Jesus Navas, and possibly Kevin De Bruyne. On the opposite end of the pitch will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who is desperate to finally win a Champions League trophy – with Angel Di Maria and possibly Lucas Moura or Edinson Cavani.
It indeed will be a star-studded spectacle, and what better city to host the first leg than glamorous Paris? Will it be PSG or Manchester City to come out on top at the Parc des Princes this Wednesday?