PSG vs Man City
The latest set of Champions League group-stage ties played out a short time ago.
The marquee clash of the day would see PSG and Manchester City face off at the Parc des Princes.
The pair are the favourites to quality from Group A, with Tuesday’s result no doubt set to play a key role in how takes top spot.
The two sides would face off in last season’s Champions League semi-final, with City emerging victorious.
However, the French powerhouse have since had a fairly active summer window, which included them signing some big names such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum.
And, when all was said and done in Paris, PSG’s new-look side provide too much for Pep Guardiola and co.
The opening goal of the day came after just eight minutes when Kylian Mbappe’s low cross took two deflections before Neymar found Idrissa Gueye, who smashed his effort into the top scorner of Ederson’s net.
When you’ve got Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe up front…
But Idrissa Gueye gets the big goal!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 28, 2021
City then had a great chance to equalise inside the opening half-hour but Bernardo Silva missed an open goal from a few yards out.
And, though Man City did enjoy the majority of the possession for the remainder of the game, a moment of magic from Lionel Messi late on ensured PSG came away with all three points.
Here are five things 101 learned from the game.
Verratti is integral to PSG’s success
PSG’s squad is, of course, filled with huge, box office names such as Messi, Neymar, Mbappe and Ramos.
However, it is another star who is arguably even more important, or at least as important, to PSG succeeding in the Champions League.
That man in Marco Verratti, who had the nightmare task of operating between Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva on Tuesday.
The Italian, however, was world-class in Paris, with his superb close control in tight spaces, visionary passing and work rate absolutely integral to PSG being able to break out of City’s press and start their own attacks.
He is unlikely to get the headlines on Wednesday, but Verratti’s efforts should not go unnoticed.
A striker is needed at Man City
Is this something we have only just learned? Probably not. But it was once again apparent against PSG.
Raheem Sterling would be the man tasked with operating in the false-nine role on Tuesday.
And, though he showed moments of quality, Sterling did not have the best of games overall.
This is not all Sterling’s fault, as he is not a natural striker and generally works best on the left.
But it was fairly clear in the opening 45 especially that he is not suited to that role. And with Gabriel Jesus now used as a winger and Ferran Torres still fairly inexperienced, City probably need to bring in a proper centre-forward sooner rather than later.
If they do not, they could risk losing some big, big ties due to their lack of quality through the middle.
Carlos del Cerro hates Jack Grealish
Tuesday’s game was refereed by Carlos del Cerro. And it does appear as though the home crowd had a big impact on the officiating.
Jack Grealish is well known for drawing fouls and, whilst he can sometimes go down a bit too easily, the referee in Paris gave the winger absolutely nothing.
Achraf Hakimi did have a good game against City’s newest signing, but Grealish saw at least a few very clear fouls on him not given by Carlos del Cerro.
The ball also quite clearly, on one occasion, bounced out of play from Hakimi tackling Grealish but it was still given as a PSG throw.
Overall, a very biased referring display towards PSG on Tuesday.
Messi is still the GOAT
With Mbappe and Neymar alongside him, Lionel Messi is no longer the only star of the show and is no longer required to win the game for his side by himself, like he was in his final few years at Barcelona.
And, vs Man City, Messi did actually have a fairly quiet game overall.
But, as always, it took just one moment of magic from Messi to leave a big impact on the game.
The 34-year-old began one of his typical runs from deep before playing a one-two with Mbappe and curling an effort past Ederson, who was rooted to the spot.
This article was edited by Ben Browning.
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