Most would usually say, the Champions League “starts” at the quarter final stage -you probably think so too. Imagine: These remaining eight clubs have gotten this far, and the game is just about to begin? Well, that’s why this league belittles the rest. And UEFA, when it comes to making the draws, VERY RARELY disappoint.
PSG vs Man. City, very easily, could be the most underrated of all the quarter-final clashes of the UCL but then again, do not be fooled. If there’s nothing to fight for here, there’d be a lot of pride at stake – at least a lot of cash is involved).
The draw in itself was expected, and apart from Benfica, this two teams are the most underrated at this stage of the competition. However, this tie has a lot of promise plus entertainment too and here are 5 reasons why:
1. El Pinochio is Coming to England… Again!
As regards speculations about Zlatan’s future, one thing seems certain: “the nosed one” is on his way to England. Even though Zlatan claims to not do auditions, this is his English audition. The only difference? No one is in doubt of what Zlatan can add to a team despite his age. He has been in simmering form for PSG all season scoring 36 goals and making 14 assist for club and country this season. Arsene Wenger’s failed targets have a way of rubbing salt on his injuries and Zlatan will make a point to be no different especially at the Etihad.
2. It’s the “El Cashico”!
From the el classico to the Madrid Derby to the derb berceloni to the riverderbies to the Bavarian derby to Der Klassiker to the North West Derby, the London Derby or the inter regional derbies, Europe’s biggest games find a way naming themselves. And I’ve found a name for this one game which will be played over two legs and might end up being the most expensive football game of all time – in terms of players on the pitch of course – with billions ($) of spending between them.
They’ve attracted some of the world’s best footballers and could do more than that if they wanted. Afterall, they’ve proved money can buy league titles. Why not the Champions League title?
3. Man City are in New Waters
This is the first time they’ve qualified to this stage of the Champions League. City must be proud of themselves and rightly so. However there’s no margin for error at this stage and every timidity will be punished. This is no English Premier League and as thus, City will have to come dressed as men to this party. They’ll need to step up and do this Champions League business like champions would do it. It’s not that hard to dream and the Citizens can do it if they play up to the levels that they are capable of. A good game in Paris and they might have a leg in the semis which would be an amazing achievement considering they are the only English team left in the competition.
4. Absence of Competitive Games: A Blessing or a Curse?
This season, PSG have proved that they deserve to be in a different league. They just told everybody, “We feel insulted playing in this league, there are no worthy teams!”. They had 20 points more than the second team in December and recently wrapped up the league with 8 games to spare meaning even if they lose 8 games on the bounce (24 points), they’d still have the league! And somewhere in Europe, other leagues are set for a photo finish or needing at least two or three games to the end of season before there can be a crowned winner. Bloody hell!
They’ve been amazing BUT this might mean a lack of competitive games before the big one and hence a diluted competitive spirit against a City team still fighting for the league title which can in turn be dangerous as no team can afford to be complacent at this stage. Winning a league in such ruthless style can mean either PSG is really good or the league is really bad. If it’s the latter, that would mean they aren’t as good as we make them out to be and they’ll find out by crashing out. If it’s the former, City should be very afraid. On the other hand, low-intensity games mean fresher legs, no complaints of tiredness or accumulated injuries which will be a big plus against the Citizens that play in a league with tightly scheduled fixtures.
5. It’s the Champions League
Every coach (not sure about Wenger though), player and even fan – for the bragging rights – wants to win the highly coveted UEFA Champions League trophy. It is why the best teams splash the cash. It is why the big players are big players. It is why the young footballers dream. It is what we look forward to on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And here, these two teams have a unique opportunity to progress to the semis and in these kind of competition, you can never tell. They might be underdogs but once in a while the under dogs go all the way and win big in Europe.
One thing is certain, there’s everything to play for and it will be explosive!
PSG to edge it over two legs no thanks to fresher legs, the quality in midfield and their attack which will be a bit difficult for Man City to contain especially as they have struggled at times this season to play like real champions.
Don’t forget to share this good read with your friends. They’d be thankful to you for helping them learn a new phrase: El Cashico and you’ll be the Smart One 😉
You can catch up with Kolawole on twitter @Kopainzy