Manchester City go into Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with CSKA Moscow knowing that a win will effectively guarantee their place in the knockout stages that have eluded them in the past two seasons.
With Bayern Munich dominating Group D and Viktoria Plzen sitting bottom without a point to their name, Man City’s victory in Russia on October 23 was hugely significant as it makes them favourites to finish second. Manuel Pellegrini’s side also came back well, scoring two good goals, but all that was somewhat overshadowed sadly by the racist chanting that was aimed at Yaya Toure from the home fans.
And the 2012 Premier League champions should come into this game high on confidence following their 7-0 demolition of Norwich City on Saturday, where six players found the net as they came up with the perfect response to the defeat at Chelsea. Costel Pantilimon was rarely called upon, and he will retain his place in goal ahead of Joe Hart.
CSKA Moscow did occasionally threaten in the previous meeting between the two sides, but their league form is patchy, as they currently lie in a disappointing fourth, nine points behind leaders and reigning champions Zenit St. Petersburg. Japan international Keisuke Honda, and former Manchester United midfielder Zoran Tosic are likely to provide their biggest danger.
Captain Vincent Kompany is once again likely to miss out, while Stevan Jovetic, who missed the game against Norwich, is also out.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man