Manchester City have endured a less than convincing start to their UEFA Champions League campaign, suffering a defeat at home to Olympique Lyonnais, followed by striking a late winner in Germany to beat Hoffenheim, giving Pep Guardiola’s men a crucial three points.
The Blues now travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk, who sit just a point behind City in third place – a win for either side could see them go top of Group F.
Delph to miss trip
City have revealed their travelling squad for Tuesday’s game, and Fabian Delph is one standout absentee. Claudio Bravo and Ilkay Gundogan are also long-term absentees, and neither have recovered in time for this encounter.
Danilo is the only other player to miss the trip after picking up a knock, maybe a precaution taken by Guardiola, rather than an injury that could result in a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Manchester City predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho, Sterling, B. Silva, D. Silva, Sane; Aguero
As for Shakhtar, they have just the two injuries as Taison and Ivan Ordets miss out.
Shakhtar Donetsk predicted XI: Pyatov; Matvyenko, Krivstov, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Maycon, Stepanenko; Marlos, Patrick, Dentinho; Moraes
A tough test for the Blues
City have faced Shakhtar twice before, both in last years Champions League group stage.
At the Etihad, City ran out 2-0 winners, with the goals including a memorable strike from Kevin de Bruyne. However, in the reverse fixture, goals from Bernard and Ismaily dos Santos helped the Ukrainians on their way to a 2-1 victory – history that Guardiola will be determined not to repeat.
Shakhtar currently sit top of the Ukrainian Premier League, with an impressive 31 points from 12 games, winning ten, drawing one and losing one.
City also sit top of the Premier League table, meaning two in form and very confident sides will be lining up under the lights at the Metalist Stadium.
Ahead of this one, both managers will be warning their defences about the form of the opposition striker, with Sergio Aguero sitting as second top scorer in the Premier League, having scored six goals, whilst new summer arrival for Shakhtar, Junior Moraes has netted 12 times in 15 games, meaning that it is likely that the performance of these two will play a huge part in the victors in this game.
It is undoubted that City have the better squad on paper, with strength in numbers only being bolstered by the return of de Bruyne at the weekend, although Guardiola’s men will have to stay wary of the Ukrainians.
The home crowd will get behind the side in potentially hostile conditions, and it could prove to be another very difficult European away day in a game that could be pivotal in the long run of the group.