PSG v Manchester City: Underrated hosts the smart pick for semi-final thriller

Brazil and PSG forward Neymar
Neymar dazzled against Bayern in the last round and will be key for PSG again

Last season's beaten finalists are worthy of support as they take on the Premier League leaders in the last four on Wednesday night, writes James Eastham...

"It is hard to justify Manchester City being such short favourites to win the tie given that PSG reached the final last season and are a more mature and arguably more effective side this time around."

Best Bet: Back PSG in the 'To Reach The Final 2020/21' market @ 2.546/4

Paris St-G vs Man City
Wed, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 2

Strongest City line-up set to be available

After scoring twice Kylian Mbappe limped off in PSG's 3-1 league win at Metz at the weekend but the France international ought to be fit enough to start.

Defenders Marquinhos and Abdou Diallo are doubtful but latest reports suggest the pair could start at centre-back and left-back respectively. Should that be the case, no.1 left-back Juan Bernat - out with serious injury since September - would be the only first-choice player absent from the home ranks.

The visitors are hopeful they will have a full squad to pick from. As ever, there's immense competition for places, and a decent chance that manager Pep Guardiola (pictured below) will spring at least one surprise in the line-up.

Paris odds too good to ignore

The strongest selection on this game may not be directly related to the markets listed under the fixture heading, but relate to the adjacent 'To Reach The Final 2020-21' market instead.

Click on that market, and you'll see Manchester City are 1.625/8 to make it to the final. In contrast, PSG are a much larger 2.546/4 to reach the final in Istanbul on May 29.

These odds are another way of the market saying that Man City a 62% chance of making the final, while Paris have a 38% chance.

Why are Manchester City so short? It is hard to justify Guardiola's side being such clear favourites to win the tie.

We've seen Guardiola outfits at various clubs fall so many times before reaching the final in previous years and there's no strong evidence the current City team is notably stronger than its predecessors.

City face a PSG side that reached the final last season and are more mature and arguably more effective this time around.

In Neymar and Mbappe PSG boast the two most decisive attackers left in the competition and it will be hard for City to contain the pair.

There's no player in the City ranks capable of turning the game as emphatically in his side's favour as Neymar and Mbappe can for PSG.

PSG's odds should be shorter than they are so this is an excellent opportunity to back Mauricio Pochettino's players at a big price. Remember that our selection is on PSG reaching the final rather than winning over 90 minutes on Wednesday night.

guardiola_2021_ucl.jpg

Expect a high-scoring encounter

It is tempting to lay PSG on the night despite the Ligue 1 outfit offering the better value to get through the tie.

Paris have had problems in home games in recent weeks, winning just four of their last eight outings (W4-D1-L3) at Parc des Princes in all competitions.

Yet the 3.3512/5 odds on PSG winning on Wednesday night mean there's no value in opposing the hosts.

Instead a better pick is to support a high-scoring outcome on the night.

Over 2.5 & 3.0 is available at just under evens on the Goal Lines market and this selection is worth serious consideration.

With this bet you will make a profit as long as the game has three ore more goals on the night.

When PSG faced Barcelona in the last 16 and Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals we saw that games involving PSG are littered with chances when the opposition are equally committed to attacking football.

The stats bear this out and offer a precursor to how the game against City might go.

The expected goals (xG) figures from the two games PSG played against Barcelona were 5.93 and 3.14. The two games against Bayern produced an xG of 4.56 and 3.79.

As you can see, all four games had an xG of higher than 3, and the average across the four matches was 4.4.

There's no reason to suspect this figure will drop notably against City, making high goals the smart selection.

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James’ 2020-21 Champions League P/L

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