Manchester City will restart their defence of their Champions League crown with a potential banana skin of a game away to FC Copenhagen.
Despite the gap in quality in this game, City should be wary. Their hosts have lost just one of their last ten at home in Europe, including a draw with City last season. But City look in imperious form right now, and have won ten in a row.
Manchester City predicted lineup analysis
Goalkeeper and defenders:
Though Stefan Ortega has played a couple of Champions League group games this season, against Crvena Zvezda and RB Leipzig, Ederson is still very much Pep Guardiola’s number one. Now in the knockout stages, it would be some shock if Ederson, arguably the world’s premier ball-playing goalkeeper doesn’t start every game from here on out.
Despite his 33 years, Kyle Walker is as blisteringly quick as ever, and has been a key part of City’s UCL campaigns for years. The England defender is essentially a one-man transition killer, his awesome speed allows him to keep up with Europe’s most mercurial talents and put out fires.
Portugal centre-back Ruben Dias has not been quite as imperious this season, and has made errors. But, the 26-year-old is still a world-class defender, and Guardiola will almost certainly start him in this one.
The left sided centre-back/left-back role for Manchester City has seen quite a lot of movement this season. Nathan Ake and new boy Josko Gvardiol have jostled for supremacy there, as well as a few appearances from Manuel Akanji.
Gvardiol will likely start this one after Ake started against Everton on Saturday. The Croatian and his colleagues at the back are currently priced at 4/5 to keep a clean sheet in this one.
There is always a dilemma as to whether to put John Stones down as a defender or midfielder. In the possession, the Englishman is a key cog in the City midfield, but out of it, he drops off next to the central defender and forms a conventional back four.
As City will likely dominate the ball, we’re putting him down as a midfielder. Stones’ return to fitness is a huge boost for City as they approach the run-in.
Spain international Rodri has only lost one match in the last year for Manchester City, the Community Shield on penalties to Arsenal. The midfielder is indispensable for City, and they always look lost without him.
Kevin de Bruyne
Like Stones, Kevin de Bruyne’s return to fitness is enormous, and is better than any January signing. City are easing the Belgian back in, but in his 273 minutes this season (that’s barely three games), he already has a goal and five assists. With Erling Haaland back too, de Bruyne is currently priced at 3/1 to assist the big Norwegian.
Remarkably, despite being long-mentioned as one of the most underrated players in Europe, Bernardo Silva is probably still underestimated.
One of City’s longest serving players, Silva has the intelligence to play anywhere on the pitch, and is also blessed with exquisite skill in tight spaces as well as an indefatigable engine.
After only playing a handful of minutes in last season’s Champions League knockouts, Phil Foden has been on a mission to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The Englishman has already notched three goals and two assists in Europe this season, and is priced at 39/20 to score a goal in a City win on Tuesday night.
After missing almost a month through injury, Erling Haaland made an emphatic return to goalscoring form against Everton on Saturday, breaking the Toffees’ stubborn resistance to open the scoring, and scoring another to finish them off. As always, do not be surprised to see the Norwegian score.
Belgian speedster Jeremy Doku’s output has slowed down a little from his blistering start to life at City, with just one goal in his last 11 appearances.
That said, the 21-year-old is a threat in other ways however, and no player in the Premier League to have played more than 200 minutes is completing more take-ons per game than Doku. His Champions League form has also been exemplary, with five assists already.