Game preview: City v Dynamo Kiev

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini celebrates with goalscorer Micah Richards during the FA Cup sponsored by E.On Sixth Round match between Manchester City and Reading at the City of Manchester Stadium on March 13, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

A tough evening (or early evening given the 6pm kick-off) awaits then as City bid to overturn what a 2-0 deficit from last weeks first leg in Kiev.

The evidence of the first leg suggests it will be a difficult task indeed, as without an away goal City will be mindful that should Kiev score just once they will need to score four goals (without the cushion of a possible extra-time period) to progress. Even without Artem Milevsky, who looked dangerous last week, Kiev do look very capable of scoring.

If City are to progress however, hopes rest with the trio of Nigel de Jong, David Silva and Carlos Tevez. It is imperative that City get off to a fast start, and in City's favour the statistics suggest they are more than capable of that. Tevez of course sets the pace and tone for the attack, a whirling dervish of a player who when on form aligns effervesence with a clinical eye for goal.

Silva has increasingly become a more important presence in the side. With Tevez suffering a dip in form (possibly as a result of being moved around the front line), Silva has stepped up. Possessing a wonderful range of passing, his distribution and ability to beat defences is wholly evident and if Tevez is to be the executor, Silva will be the one orchestrating and providing the bullets.

It is de Jong though who could play the biggest role; not an obvious offensive contributor but being omnipresent he is not only the shield for the defence but often the starting point in launching attacks, bringing the likes of Silva and Yaya Toure into the game; results during his recent absence show how integral he is to the side.

Can City overturn a two-goal deficit and progress to the quarter-finals? In their favour - with the proviso that they don't concede - is that extra-time could come into play, making the task of winning by three goals a lot easier with the extra 30 minutes play.

But how often have City achieved such a margin of victory this season?

On seven occasions this season (three Premier League, two Europa League and two FA Cup) City have won by three or more goals: interestingly, all victories attained without conceding and all at home. Where City have conceded, the biggest margin of victory has been three goals, achieved just once (away to Fulham) whilst a two goal margin when conceding has been done on three occasions - and only once at home.

In terms of clean sheets, of the 47 games played this season, City have kept 20 clean sheets (42.5%); although thirteen of these have come in home games. This should be tempered however by the fact that the Kompany/Lescott partnership (likely deployed tomorrow) have kept only four clean sheets in ten games together - also conceding two on four occasions.

I wrote in the wake of last weeks defeat that City need to hit fast and hit early - ideally in the first 30 minutes to ensure they have a genuine shot at winning. The difficulty is that this is an experienced Kiev side, versed in European competition and with a pedigree of achieving results away from home.

The statistics though, whilst not overwhelmingly so (as you would expect when trying to overturn a two-goal deficit) are positive enough to suggest all is not lost providing key areas are achieved: with avoiding conceding the imperative aspect in achieving this.

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