Arena Khimki, Moscow
23 October, 17:00 BST
Manchester City travel to Russia for their next Champions League group stage fixture to face CSKA Moscow at Arena Khimki. Both these sides have made similar starts to their European campaign having won one and lost one of their opening two matches, and with Bayern Munich seemingly running away with the group, they are in desperate need to points in this game to keep up with them.
Team news and tactics
CSKA made a fine start to their league campaign this season, remaining undefeated in their opening eight games. But they their performances have gone down drastically since last month. CSKA have lost four of their last five matches in the domestic league and as a result have dropped down the table to 6th. They are already 11 points behind league leaders Zenit Petersburg and they might even find it hard to qualify for Europe next season based on current form.
CSKA lost their opening match in the Champions League this season against Bayern Munich, but they have bounced back well in their last European game. They defeat Viktoria Plzen 3-2, despite conceding an early goal in that game. Zoran Tosic and Keisuke Honda scored for the home side in that game, while an own goal from Radim Reznik turned out to be the winner. With Bayern running away with the group, it is between CSKA and Manchester City to fight it out for the 2nd qualification spot, hence match will hold a lot of significance for both these sides.
CSKA are coming into this match on the back of their third consecutive defeat in the league. The lost 2-0 away to league leaders Zenit after conceding both the goals in the first half.
The only long term injury concern that manager Leonid Slutsky has at the moment is the unavailability of 25-year-old midfielder Aleksandrs Cauna. But the bigger concern for him is the possible absence of Alan Dzagoev. The attacking midfielder is yet to gain full fitness and is unlikely to feature in this game. There are also concerns about the fitness of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, but he is likely be available for selection.
Slutsky is expected to make only two changes to the side that he fielded against Zenit. Igor Akinfeev will replace Sergey Chepchugov in goal, while Alexei Berezoutski will replace Georgy Schennikov at left back. Keisuke Honda will once again be the key in the midfield for CSKA and they would hope that the Japanese international can deliver in this big game.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev (GK); Berezoutski, Ignashevitch, A Berezoutski, Nababkin; Honda, Wernbloom; Milanov, ZuberTosic; Musa
A lot is expected of Manchester City this season following their busy summer and the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini at the helm. They made a relatively slow start to their league campaign, but are seemingly returning to their best with every passing game. The side has also been affected by injuries and they are currently 4th in the Premier League – three points behind league leaders Arsenal.
City made a good start to their European campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen, but followed that up with an awful performance against Bayern Munich at home. City lost the game 1-3, but in reality the score line flattered them. Man City were given a footballing lesson by the European champions and it highlighted how much City needs to improve in Europe in order to compete with the best. But this match against CSKA Moscow provides a good opportunity bounce back considering their opponent’s awful current form.
Manchester City are coming into this game on the back of wonderful performance against West Ham away from home. Sergio Aguero scored a brace, while David Silva scored his first goal since his return from injury.
Manuel Pellegrini faces three injury concerns ahead of his game. Martin Demichelis , Jack Rodwell and club captain Vincent Kompany are still unavailable. Pellegrini is expected to make three changes to the side which was fielded against West Ham. Pablo Zabaleta will replace Micah Richards at right back, while Joleon Lescott will replace Javi Garcia in the center of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov is also expected to gain back his place in the starting line-up in place of Gael Clichy.
Pellegrini has been using a very versatile 4-2-3-1 formation, which almost changes to a 4-4-2 formation as Aguero joins Negredo upfront. Both Silva and Nasri like to drift inside and might almost make it into a 4-2-2-2 formation with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho controlling the game from the center of the park.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart (GK); Zabaleta, Nastasic, Lescott, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure; Nasri, Aguero, Silva; Negredo
Players to watch out for: Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow); Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Prediction: CSKA Moscow 0-2 Manchester City