It’s first versus second in Group C of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League on Tuesday as Manchester City travel to Portugal to take on FC Porto.
FC Porto have not had the greatest of starts in the Primeira Liga this season, with the giants stationed at fourth on the league table, six points behind current leaders Sporting CP. Porto, though, are on a five-game winning streak in all competitions and also boast of a perfect home record in the 2020/21 Champions League.
For Manchester City, it has almost been smooth sailing in Group C, with the Citizens leading the group with a perfect record after four gameweeks. Such has been their dominance, City have only conceded just one goal so far in the 2020/21 Champions League Group Stage.
Unless something drastic happens, both Porto and Manchester City have qualified already for the knockout phase – Manchester City have qualified regardless of what may happen. This makes the Tuesday match a final for Porto, who need a win to go level on points with Manchester City, who are in the driving seat to get the top place in Group C and get the preferential seeding.
Manchester City come into the game on the back of a 5-0 decimation of Burnley in the Premier League and will be looking to get things done this week itself, so they can provide chances to the fringe players on the last Gameweek of the Group Stage. Let us now take a look at how the two squads are shaping up.
Team News & Tactics
Ivan Marcano and Mouhamed Mbaye are both sidelined due to injuries; so is Pepe, but the former Real Madrid star will likely be assessed before a final decision is made. Marko Grujic is also unavailable due to the red card he received last week against Marseille.
The back four should remain the same from the Marseille fixture, with the likes of Wilson Manafa, Chancel Mbemba, Malang Sarr and Zaidu Sanusi completing the defensive line along with Agustin Marchesin in goal.
Grujic’s absence means Mateus Uribe will come into the midfield to partner Sergio Oliveira in the centre of the four-man midfield. Jesus Corona and Otavio will start again on either side of the midfield for Porto against Manchester City on Tuesday.
Luis Diaz and Moussa Marega should be the designated forwards against Manchester City and will be tasked with the responsibility of exploiting the spaces that City’s defence affords them.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Marchesin; Manafa, Mbemba, Sarr, Sanusi; Otavio, Oliveira, Uribe, Corona; Diaz, Marega
Sergio Aguero and Nathan Ake are both doubts and unlikely to be risked by Pep Guardiola on Tuesday. Ederson should maintain his place in the Manchester City goal. Aymeric Laporte could give way for Eric Garcia, who is in line to be given some minutes of first-team action. Ruben Dias should keep his place after having brought off early in the 5-0 win over Burnley.
Joao Cancelo returns and will come in for Benjamin Mendy while Kyle Walker reprises his role on the right. Phil Foden is pushing for a start and could come in for Ilkay Gundogan in midfield, with Rodri likely to continue as the holding midfielder. Kevin De Bruyne is likely to be the most advanced player in midfield and will be responsible for providing the creative impetus.
Raheem Sterling is likely to replace Ferran Torres in attack, with Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez keeping their places. There is a likelihood that Liam Delap is afforded some minutes towards the second half if things go well.
Probable Lineup (4-1-2-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Garcia, Cancelo; Rodri; Foden, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
1. FC Porto have scored in each of their home games in all competitions in the 2020/21 season.
2. Porto are winless in a total of three meetings with Manchester City in official matches, with an aggregate scoreline of 9-2 in City’s favour.
3. Both Manchester City and Porto come into the game, having kept clean sheets in each of their last 3 Champions League games in the 2020/21 season.
4. Manchester City have had as many as 7 unique goalscorers so far in the Group Stage.
5. Sergio Oliveira is having a blinder of a campaign from midfield, with a record of 3 goals in 4 Champions League matches, along with 4 goals and 3 assists in the 2020/21 Primeira Liga.
Player to Watch
Philip Walter Foden for Manchester City:
87 Games 🎽
4023 Minutes (44.7 90s) 🕖
19 Goals ⚽️
15 Assists (Opta) 🎯
2x English Premier League Champion 🏆🏆
FA Cup Winner 🏆
3x English League Cup Winner 🏆🏆🏆
2x Community Shield Winner 🏅 pic.twitter.com/x9OycwwuZm
— ! (@SherlockHuman1) November 28, 2020
A string of brilliant cameos and super-sub performances so far in the 2020/21 season has seen Foden push for a regular place in the Manchester City starting eleven. Pep Guardiola will be aware of the same and might afford the English youngster with a start against Porto on Tuesday.
The midfielder’s cameo against Burnley was evidence of his hunger and a start would be a justified reward. With David Silva no longer there, Foden can push to prove there is no need to sign any replacements. Another positive display and we can see Guardiola afford more of such rewards to the 20-year-old.
FC Porto 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester City have Burnley’s blood on their hands and while the 5-0 win was a scary sight, it is often the start of a troubling run; troubling for the oppositions that come in their way. The City bulldozer might begin to be out in full force and the FC Porto match will be a big testament to whether the Burnley demolition was just a temporary thing or is the bulldozer out for real.
Porto have scored in each of their home games in all competitions this season and should be good to score at least one goal on Tuesday. However, Manchester City are superior in terms of quality and the difference therein is likely to come into play at Estadio do Dragao.
We expect Manchester City to win by a decent two-goal cushion and are going for Porto score one, which is justified by their record in home games so far. A 3-1 win for City on Tuesday to confirm their top spot in Group C.