Champions League Pressure On City To Freeze Moscow OutStats
Man City v CSKA Moscow
There can be no more room for slip ups for Manchester City who know they must win this midweek to keep their Champions League dream alive…
Just what is it with Manchester City and the Champions League? Yet to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, despite the abundance of talent and wealth at their disposal, they’re in grave danger of going the same way for a third consecutive season.
2-0 up at half time in the revere of this fixture a fortnight ago and Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked set to take a stranglehold in the battle for a top two finish in Group E. But a second-half capitulation meant yet another disappointing European night for the Citizens and now, with just two points on the board from three games played, this really is a must win fixture.
They do at least come into the game on a positive footing having won 1-0 against neighbours Manchester United at the weekend, but it wasn’t an overly impressive performance as they played against 10 men for more than half the game and were, in the end, hanging on for the three points.
Sergio Aguero scored the only goal of the game, taking the Argentine to 12 goals for the season including two in the Champions League.
CSKA Moscow, meanwhile, lost 1-0 at home to Zenit St Petersburg on Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash that now leaves Leonid Slutsky’s men seven points off the pace.
The Russians have won only one of their last five in all competitions, including a disappointing 3-3 draw at FC Ufa 10 days ago. Bebars Natcho, who scored the equaliser against City in Mosocw, bagged a brace in that game and now has eight goals for the season.
Aleksandar Kolorov, Frank Lampard and Eliaquim Managala all missed the Manchester derby through injury and are each doubtful for this one.
David Silva has been ruled out for three weeks, but Samir Nasri will be available after returning from groin surgery.
City won both games when the teams met in last season’s Champions League group stages with Alvaro Negredo scoring a hat-trick and Sergio Aguero getting two in a 5-2 win at the Etihad. Aguero now has five goals in three appearances against CSKA Moscow, while Seydou Doumbia has scored three in three against City for the Russians.
The pressure will be on City this midweek and although I do expect that they’ll get the win they need, I wouldn’t be risking my hard earned to back them at odds of 1/4. CSKA are priced at odds of 13/1 to cause an upset, while the draw is 11/2 and a repeat 2-2 scoreline is 20/1.
Eradicating defensive errors will be the modus operandi for City in training this week, and there was evidence of a more rounded defensive display in the game against Manchester Untied on Saturday. Pellegrini was quick to credit his side’s first clean sheet in five games in his post-match analysis.
At odds of 17/10 Under 2.5 goals looks to be a standout price, but if you prefer to take a more conservative approach then 7/10 about Under 3.5 goals also represents value in my opinion.