Manchester City welcome Ajax to the Etihad Stadium knowing that only a victory will keep their faint hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League alive.
The champions of England have only collected one point from their three matches so far with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax, the champions of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands respectively. However, despite their poor form the Citizens will surely be confident of finally getting their European campaign to a winning start at home to an Ajax side who have been poor away from home in Europe in recent years.
Manager Roberto Mancini has a few injury and selection concerns ahead of the crucial clash. England internationals Joleon Lescott and James Milner look set to miss out again after being absent from the goalless draw at West Ham on Saturday. Elsewhere, Micah Richards, Maicon, Jack Rodwell and David Silva are all in the treatment room while a possible defensive reinforcement, Kolo Toure, has not been registered for the competition, leaving only Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic as City’s recognised central-defensive pairing.
In attack, Mancini has a decision to make with Edin Dzeko his most in-form forward yet seemingly better placed as an impact substitute. Additionally, Mario Balotelli continues to struggle for form while Sergio Aguero is still finding his feet after missing a large part of the season’s early games with injury.
Visitors Ajax are set to line up with Ryan Babel up front, who returns to England two years after he departed Liverpool. Elsewhere, defender Niklas Moisander, a scorer in their 3-1 over City a fortnight ago looks set to start after missing their last Dutch league outing, meaning that coach Frank De Boer could name the same starting XI as he did for that fixture. Reported City transfer target Christian Eriksen, another scorer two weeks ago, will be vital to Ajax’s attacking play.
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