Following their 2-1 home win over West Bromwich Albion on 9 April and Manchester United’s 3-0 humiliation at White Hart Lane the following day, Manchester City have a four-point cushion in the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s men now turn their attention to the Champions League this evening, 12 March, as they prepare to face French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.
Goals from Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne in the first leg mean City are well positioned to complete the job at the Etihad Stadium. The score currently stands at 2-2 but if City and England No.1 Joe Hart can keep a clean sheet, the Blues are guaranteed to reach the semi-finals for the first time in the their history.
Club captain Vincent Kompany will not recover in time from a calf injury, with Pellegrini saying, “He is not 100%. It is not possible”. Raheem Sterling is the only other City player sidelined as the winger is still out with a groin injury.
David Silva trained with the squad after missing Saturday’s Premier League victory, but it is unclear whether or not the pivotal and dynamic Spaniard will be fit enough to start.
Other than a few corporate tickets the fixture is a sell-out, with around 53,000 fans expected to turn out for what will be City’s highest ever attendance for a European match.
The absence of Kompany may be a crucial factor in the result of the encounter. City have only lost three times this season when Kompany has played and in one of those matches – the 2-1 defeat to Juventus in September – they conceded the winning goal after he had left the pitch.
But with the likes of Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne and Yaya Touré in their ranks, City certainly have enough firepower to dismantle Laurent Blanc’s team.
TNT Sport Billy Rooney