Home Football Graphics Highlight PSG’s Strengths And Manchester City’s Weaknesses

Graphics Highlight PSG’s Strengths And Manchester City’s Weaknesses

Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-finals were set up to ensure an interesting evening.

Manchester City had the benefit of two away goals for their second leg against Paris St. Germain. However, the last English team left in the competition have been anything but solid at the back since the injury to captain Vincent Kompany.

Before the second leg, City had managed just one clean sheet in the Champions League. That came at home in their round of 16 second leg against Dynamo Kiev, a game that finished 0-0. PSG on the other hand had accumulated eighteen goals in their nine games in this season’s competition. City’s defensive vulnerability and PSG’s potency had the making of a tense second leg.

during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Manchester City FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium on April 12, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Madrid have reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League each year since 2011. Their win in El Clásico was followed by a limp performance in Saxony as they lost 2-0 to Wolfsburg in the first leg. The Bundesliga side have managed just four wins in their last eighteen games in the domestic league, yet their potency should not have been underestimated as they possess attacking threats in the form of Julian Draxler and former Chelsea player André Schürrle.

Home advantage for the second leg is often seen as a deciding factor in these Champions League knockout games. The cliché rang true as both Real Madrid and Manchester City progressed 3-2 on aggregate. Manchester City made their first ever Champions League semi-final while Real Madrid progressed to their sixth consecutive semi.

Despite their elimination from the competition both PSG and Wolfsburg should be proud of their performances over the two legs. Wolfsburg had a number of chances to grab, what would have been, a vital away goal. A quick free-kick from the German team set Schürrle away behind the Madrid defence. His cross found an unmarked Henrique who, despite a poor first touch, saw his shot blocked by Marcello.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 02: Marcelo of Real Madrid CF stretches to control the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on April 2, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Similarly in Manchester, a last ditch block prevented the visitors from scoring a critical goal. A mistake in midfield allowed Lucas to slot the ball past the City defence to an onrushing Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan attempted to clip the ball past Joe Hart, who extended an arm and blocked the shot.

A week on from the incredible heat map from the Barcelona and Atletico Madrid game, the heat maps from the second legs tell a story.

The graphics illustrate the on ball actions of the teams. The portions of the pitch that are coloured blue indicate areas where few events took place. The areas that are coloured red represent those where a large number of events took place.

The graphic shows how much PSG controlled the midfield for the game at the Etihad. Despite this, as they moved forward their control of the territory deteriorated significantly. It is remarkable just how much of the pitch PSG were able to control compared to their hosts.

The heatmap from the encounter at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is equally interesting. Wolfsburg were under pressure for large portions of the game, but in the closing moments were forcing Madrid deeper. Nevertheless, the graphic illustrates that Wolfsburg were forced to play a large part of their game in their own half. The graphic also suggests that Madrid were either unwilling or incapable of taking advantage higher up the pitch.

While they have progressed to the semi-finals, Madrid’s performance was below par. A good start combined with Wolfsburg’s inability to retain composure in front of goal has seen them through. But the gap in quality between 8th in the Bundesliga Wolfsburg and the league leaders in Spain and Germany will be sizeable.

Cristiano Ronaldo may not be capable of carrying Madrid past Barcelona or Bayern Munich. City on the other hand can be happy with how they have fared. Despite their stuttering domestic form, a semi-final appearance in Europe must exceed pre-season expectations.

Dáire O’Driscoll, Pundit Arena

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