This will be the first competitive meeting between these two sides with their only previous clash seeing a 2-1 victory for Manchester City in a 2009 pre-season friendly. Much has changed for both sides in the seven years that have passed as they come up against each other in tonight’s Champions League clash. In a group containing a strong Borussia Monchengladbach and giants Barcelona, every point on offer has to be taken by both sides if either is to stand any chance of qualification.
Celtic have been in fine form as usual as they have taken an early lead in the SPL, despite drawing against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Convincing wins over Kilmarnock and Rangers amongst others have meant that Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a calm start to life at Celtic Park. However, there only Champions League game to date was less impressive, with a 7-0 humbling at the hands of Spanish champions Barcelona in the opening game, with an early response required in a tough group if the Hoops are to progress.
City have also taken their domestic league by storm, winning every game to date, despite a tough challenge at Old Trafford in the Derby. Recent wins over Swansea have shown the side has the ability to maintain that form even while rotating selections. The Sky Blues also started the European season well by demolishing Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 in the first game to put them second in the group behind Barcelona.
Celtic predicted line-up Manchester City predicted line-up
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Celtic are expected to make two changes, with Craig Gordon likely to win the race to return in goal with Dorius de Vries injured. Kolo Toure is also expected to return having been rested in a similar line-up to that which beat Kilmarnock 6-1 at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola will be forced into one change too, with Jesus Navas likely to step in in place of Kevin de Bruyne. That will allow Raheem Sterling to move to the left flank with David Silva moving to a more central role. Pablo Zabaleta is also expected to replace Bacary Sagna at right back in the only other likely change from the weekend’s victory at Swansea.
Suspensions and Injuries
Dorius de Vries came off at half time on Saturday with an injury and could miss out, with this tie coming just too soon for Kris Commons and Gary Mackay Steven who are both back in training after knocks and they will be hoping to return in time for action at the weekend. Logan Bailly’s ankle injury will see him out of action for another fortnight with Craig Gordon likely to step up as number one keeper to prove Brendan Rodgers wrong having dropped him.
The main blow for the Citizens will be the new absence of Kevin De Bruyne. Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph are both likely to miss out despite both being close to a return from their respective injuries, whilst Vincent Kompany will watch on from the stands as he continues to nurse a groin injury which will see him unavailable for a few more weeks yet as he aims for a late October return similar to his international teammate De Bruyne.
Rodgers is building a strong Celtic side, but to date their only real challenge in terms of quality was the trip to the Camp Nou where they failed to put up much of a fight. Guardiola’s side have been in imperious side and swept away all those who have knelt before them and their quality should be too much for the Hoops, we can only see one result tonight – it has to be a Manchester City win.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Paul Donnelly.