Manchester City look to continue their perfect record in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome Olympiacos to the Etihad Stadium.
Last week, Manchester City completed a comprehensive 3-0 drubbing of Marseille to earn 2 wins in 2 games. A win at home to Olympiacos would extend their lead at the top of Group C and they can start rotating the team with more flexibility.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 27, 2020
Man City also defeated Sheffield United on the weekend with a 1-0 scoreline which fails to tell the actual story of the game. The return of talisman Kevin De Bruyne was crucial for the team. The Cityzens created an abundance of chances but were denied by the inspired Aaron Ramsdale.
Olympiacos, on the other hand, suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of FC Porto last week. A victory versus Marseille on opening day has brought them 3 points out of 6, and any positive result versus Man City would be a bonus. A third-place finish would be the aim for Olympiacos from Group C.
Team News & Tactics
Despite the congested fixture schedule, Manchester City will start key players versus Olympiacos as they look to assure a comfortable spot in the group stage from early on itself.
Nathan Ake has regained full fitness and is in contention to start the game for the Cityzens. Another surprise appearance could be of striker Gabriel Jesus, who has recently recovered from a thigh injury. The Brazilian resumed training earlier this week and Guardiola stated that he would analyse Jesus’ situation after a late fitness test.
📸 | Gabriel Jesus on Instagram:
“Happy to be back. 😃🙌🏽💪🏽⚽”
— City Chief (@City_Chief) November 1, 2020
The return of Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte have come in a timely fashion, as Man City attempt to face a difficult run of matches. Talk of the town, Phil Foden is expected to start versus Olympiacos after sitting on the bench against Sheffield United. Foden has looked lively and good every time he has played this season, and it is expected that Guardiola would start the English youngster.
Ferran Torres is expected to lead the line again as a false-nine with Sterling and Foden operating in close range. Aguero’s absence could hurt Man City in the long run, as he sits out for another game.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Foden; Mahrez, Torres, Sterling
Olympiacos manager, Pedro Martins, would be without three key figures in the midweek clash as Mady Camara, Ousseynou Ba and Hillal Soudani all tested positive for coronavirus in the past week.
Talisman Mathieu Valbuena will be crucial to Olympiacos’ performance at the Etihad. Midfielder Yann M’Vila is also set to start. Former Watford left-back Jose Holebas will make his return to England and start for the Greeks.
Apart from the three notable absentees, Olympiacos have their remaining squad to work with and challenge one of England’s best clubs. They could set up in a compact 4-4-2 and look to make life difficult for Manchester City. A damage limitation approach could be on the cards for the Greeks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sa; Rafinho, Semedo, Cisse, Holebas; M’Vila, Bouchalakis; Randjelovic, Valbuena, Masouras; Al Arabi
- This is the first-ever UEFA Champions League encounter between Manchester City and Olympiacos.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 13 games in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (W10 D3), winning five of the six games at the Etihad Stadium in this run (D1).
- Olympiacos have lost 14 of their last 16 away major UEFA European matches in England. However, they have won two of their last four visits, both against Arsenal in September 2015 and February 2020.
- Mathieu Valbuena has been directly involved in 50% of Olympiacos’ shots in the UEFA Champions League this season (11/22), having created seven chances and taken four shots himself.
- Since the start of the 2017-18 season, only Kylian Mbappé (15) has made more assists than Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (12) in the UEFA Champions League.
Player to Watch
Foden has been an absolute revelation under Pep Guardiola. The best player for Manchester City along with Raheem Sterling this season, Foden will look to continue his rich vein of form versus Olympiacos as well.
Relentless energy ⚡️ @PhilFoden
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 27, 2020
Foden was awarded man of the match for his heroics versus Marseille last week. The match before that, Foden also completely changed the complexion of the game versus West Ham where he came on from the bench. After some rest on the weekend, Foden could be the spearhead of an extremely talented and dangerous, Manchester City attack on Tuesday night.
Manchester City 4-0 Olympiacos
Manchester City have not conceded a goal in the past 2 games, and it seems unlikely that the Cityzens would concede versus Olympiacos at home. If Foden, Sterling and De Bruyne all step onto the pitch together, they could really wreak havoc in the Champions League. A trademark Man City thrashing is due and seems to be on the cards after a rather underwhelming start to the season.