Man City vs Bayern Munich
Yes, I expect City to dominate proceedings for large portions of the game, but that doesn’t mean to say that they won’t have to deal with periods of Bayern pressure. In fact, I think that’ll lead to some rather tasty scenarios.
If there’s one player in the City squad that you’d pick out for a card this evening, then that man is Rodri. The Spaniard will offer protection to the City backline, and will likely be the first point of contact when it comes to stopping any Bayern counters.
The City holding midfielder commits 1.42 fouls P/90 in a dominant Premier League side, with that number increasing slightly to 1.48 fouls P/90 in the Champions League.
Haaland aside, Rodri is City’s most carded player domestically with 4, with his yellow against Liverpool being his most recent offence. This in itself reinforces the issue that Rodri could face tonight. That yellow came from pulling back the shirt of a Liverpool player as they attempted to counter.
This is the exact scenario that I can envisage tonight. City aren’t exactly blessed with pace, and Bayern have it in abundance. The likes of Mane, Sane, Musiala, Coman are all incredibly quick and are fouled 1.82, 1.03, 1.54, and 1.35 times P/90 respectively. If any of them get a clean run at City, then expect Rodri to bring them down.
The Spaniard has received just the 1 card in the Champions League, meaning he’s at no risk of suspension here.
Bayern are an incredibly accomplished side, no doubt about it. But right now, I can’t see any side matching City when it comes to possession.
At the Etihad, Guardiola’s men should be able to control proceedings. That doesn’t mean to say that Bayern won’t have their moments, they certainly will, but City will have plenty of the ball, and I expect a fair few Bayern fouls as a result.
Benjamin Pavard stands out in this regard, and multiple fouls, or even a card, certainly aren’t outside the realm of possibility. The Frenchman has been deployed at both right back and centre back this season, and the fouls have come regardless of position.
He’s averaging just the 1.00 fouls P/90 in the Bundesliga, but his stats rocket upwards in the Champions League, where he’s committed 1.91 fouls P/90.
He may be a World Cup winner, but I really do think Pavard is particularly suspect defensively, and a couple of performances against quality sides of late have evidenced that. Pavard was rash in the challenge in the first leg of the last 16 against PSG, giving away 3 fouls, and ultimately receiving 2 yellow cards that saw him unavailable for the second leg.
The Bayern defender committed a combined 5 fouls across games against Dortmund and Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, further highlighting his weaknesses against solid opposition.
Against City, Pavard will have to deal with the direct runs and silky play of Jack Grealish, a player in truly scintillating form right now. Fouled 3.44 times P/90 domestically, and 2.77 times P/90 in Europe, Pavard will more than have his hands full.
Having Jesus Gil Manzano in the centre certainly won’t help his cause. The Spaniard averages 23.25 fouls P/90 in the Champions League, and is quick to blow the whistle. He’s averaging 5.79 cards domestically, and 5.75 in Europe. Pavard really could be on tenterhooks here, and I think he looks great value for a card