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Combined XI: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City

Sports Mole picks a combined XI using only players available for Tuesday night's Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain will lock horns with Premier League champions Manchester City for their mouth-watering Champions League encounter on Tuesday night.

The two European heavyweights, who are joined in Group A by RB Leipzig and Club Brugge, are both vying for the same prize – to clinch their first ever Champions League trophy, having come so close in recent years.

PSG reached the 2019-20 final, where they lost to an exceptional Bayern Munich outfit, before suffering defeat at the semi-final stage last season against none other than Man City, who as a result reached their first ever final.

However, Pep Guardiola's men were undone by Premier League rivals Chelsea, who secured a narrow 1-0 victory in Porto.

With both squads stacked with talent, Sports Mole picks a combined XI using only players expected to be available for Tuesday's showpiece event.

Combined XI: PSG vs. MNC

Two goalkeepers who kept a combined 35 clean sheets last season are set to be between the sticks at the Parc des Princes, with Ederson and Keylor Navas acting as the last line of defence for their respective sides. Ederson is not only efficient as a shot-stopper but his remarkable composure on the ball and passing ability make him stand out among Europe's elite number ones, which is why the Brazilian edges out his Costa Rican counterpart here.

PSG's summer signing Achraf Hakimi has made a bright start to life in the French capital, scoring three goals and providing two assists in seven Ligue 1 appearances this term. The Moroccan right-back is extremely dangerous when going forward and also has the electric pace and athleticism needed to help out defensively. Kyle Walker has very similar qualities to that of Hakimi, however the Englishman has been pipped by the former in our combined XI.

Last season's Premier League Player of the Year, Ruben Dias, slots into the heart of the defence after elevating his game to a new level since joining the Citizens in 2020. The defensive warrior is joined by Brazilian leader Marquinhos, who is such an integral figure at the back for PSG, winning 24 domestic trophies during his eight years with the French club.

The left-back position has been an issue for both sides in recent years as no individual has really cemented their place as a regular starter. However, Joao Cancelo has impressed in Pep Guardiola's side, playing in either full-back position. City's tactics enable the Portuguese international to ply his trade in advance positions where he creates numerous chances for his teammates. Cancelo's unique attacking threat is why he makes the combined XI ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko as well as PSG pair Nuno Mendes and Abdou Diallo.

With Idrissa Gueye suspended for Tuesday's clash, Spanish lynchpin Rodri makes our combined XI, edging out his teammate Fernandinho. The 25-year-old is a trusted figure in the defensive midfield role and provides the foundation for the attacking players further forward to work their magic.

Arguably the best midfielder in the world, Kevin De Bruyne slots straight into the midfield, as does PSG's Marco Verratti. The Italian, a tough-tackling dynamo who also has an eye for a pass, has vast experience at the highest level and is a regular when fit in Mauricio Pochettino's midfield. Ilkay Gundogan – who is ruled out this week with an injury – would have been a strong candidate to feature in our combined XI, however the German is edged out by Verratti here.

Despite failing to register a single goal or assist in his first three appearances for PSG, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi cannot be ignored now that he is in contention to feature on Tuesday. Little needs to be said to justify the 34-year-old's place in the combined XI. No player has scored more Champions League group-stage goals than Messi (71) in the competition's history, and the Argentine will be keen to score his first in a Parisian shirt against City.

As Messi is to feature on the right, we have selected Man City's £100m man Jack Grealish on the left, just pipping local lad Phil Foden as well as PSG's number 10 Neymar. After a stunning campaign for boyhood club Aston Villa and England last season, the 25-year-old has made a bright start to life at the Etihad Stadium. Grealish, who has started every Premier League game so far this season, has the attributes to take his game to another level under Guardiola and is set to be a key creative outlet on the left flank this campaign.

As Man City continue their search for a centre-forward, Kylian Mbappe leads the line for PSG, although his time in Paris could soon be coming to an end amid rife transfer speculation. At just 22 years of age, the Frenchman is already regarded as one of the world's best forwards, having scored at least 30 goals in each of the last three seasons across all competitions, including 42 last term. City's backline has looked strong so far this campaign, but if Mbappe is at the peak of his powers on Tuesday, then they could be in for a difficult night at the Parc des Princes.

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