Messi and PSG challenge Guardiola with the group leadership at stake

  • «How am I going to do it to stop Messi? It’s going to be a bit complicated … », jokes the City coach

  • The Etihad is ready for a big night of football, with the sign of no tickets posted for days

Many remnants of the barcelonismo of yesteryear have an appointment this Wednesday in Manchester. The City by Pep Guardiola receive the Paris SG of Leo Messi, a duel that a decade ago would have sounded like a bad joke, today has come true with overwhelming harshness. Many things have changed in the last decade, but others not one iota. Like the admiration that the Santpedor coach maintains towards the Argentine star.

“How am I going to do it to stop Messi? It’s going to be a bit complicated & mldr; », he joked Guardiola in the analysis of the meeting he made in the previous one. «If sometimes when Leo has the ball, he doesn’t even know what is going to happen, imagine when he does. I can’t teach my players how to stop it because it’s unpredictable. Although if there is something clear, it is that nostalgia will not prevail tonight in Manchester, quite the opposite.

The clash will decide the leadership of group A of the Champions League. A golden ticket towards the round of 16 that, to this day, is very precious.

Al City They have the advantage of being worth a draw to ensure their classification and continue as the first in the group, although this would force them to win on the last day in Leipzig. Meeting Guardiola, It seems impossible that the celestial do not come out to win.

Maximum expectation

The Etihad Stadium it is prepared for a big night. Tickets have been sold out for weeks, something very rare in the Champions League. The club is aware of the excitement generated to such an extent that it has prepared a specific light show for this match, probably at the height of the quirates that will step on the Manchester lawn.

From Neymar Jr., who has scored against every English team he has faced in his career, until Mbappé, that he will return to the big stage where he exploded in 2017 with the Monaco shirt. Obviously going through Lionel Messi, the black beast of Manchester City. There is no player in the world who has endorsed more goals to the celestial in Champions than Rosario, who has a total of seven. They will guard their backs, among others, Marco Verratti, of which Guardiola in the first leg declared to be “in love with this footballer & rdquor ;, or Marks. The Brazilian central defender is also “one of my favorite defenders & rdquor ;, as the Catalan coach highlighted in September. Even Sergio Ramos has entered the call. And even with all this, incredible as it may seem, PSG does not start as a favorite.

Without De Bruyne

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The Manchester City they lead the group with two points of margin compared to the Parisians, who lost against Bruges and RB Leipzig. In fact, those of Guardiola grow armored by the great lack of PSG: the collective factor. An overwhelming system, embedded in pressure and sophisticated on the ball, which he has perfected during his six years in England.

Pep will not be able to count on his main soloist, Kevin De Bruyne, isolated after testing positive for Covid-19, and will have the doubt until the last minute of his last big signing, Jack Grealish. Nothing that tarnishes one of the largest congregations of talent, and millions, that can be seen in world football.

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