This weeks Champions League action sees a down in the dumps Feyenoord travel to England’s teams of the moment, Manchester City, in a match that can surely have only one outcome.
The Dutch champions are yet to register a point in Europe this year and currently sit fourteen points off Eredivisie leaders, PSV, with only twelve games played so far. City’s fortunes, in contrast, couldn’t be more different. Guardiola’s second season in Manchester has given their fans everything they could have hoped for and then some, and although it is still early days, they look unstoppable.
The current situation in Group F, with City three points ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk in second, and with only two games left to play, the Sky Blues are rather likely to finish top. Although Feyenoord are bottom, they’re still in with a chance of snatching a third place finish which secures a Europa League spot, so things are a little more interesting than you might expect.
The Dutch side will also take some much needed respite from Guardiola’s press conference where he confirmed his side will include a number of rotations, as expected.
Yaya Toure, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernado Silva and Danilo all look set for starts with the possibility of under 17’s ace, Phil Foden, who has already scored three this season from midfield, also being included. City’s injury situation is relatively good, though they are suddenly without John Stones, who subsequently scored two of their four goals against Feyenoord in the reverse fixture. The centre back picked up a hamstring injury during their 2-0 win at Leicester. Mendy remains sidelined while veteran defender Vincent Kompany is available once again.
Feyenoord lost the service of playmaker, Karim El Ahmadi, through suspension, and the Moroccan international who has played in all four of their Champions League games so far will surely be missed. With City’s back line shifting about a bit for this fixture, Feyenoord will be hoping their in form winger, Steven Berghuis, with nine goals in seventeen appearances this season, can make the most of Pep’s rotational tactics.
Of course, the City manager will be going for the win; knowing a first place finish in the group stages means playing a team who finished second, with the added bonus of playing the second leg of the first knock-out fixture on home soil. Though we can now make the educated guess that Pep’s weakened selection is a symptom of the very heavy Christmas schedule coming up and he would much rather risk a second place group finish if it means his best players can be as rested as possible.
Despite City’s weakened side, Feyenoord still look as though the have a mountain to climb in both domestic and international settings; it’s looking like another win for Manchester’s finest as their journey to invincibility continues.
Prediction: 3-0 win for City