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FC Copenhagen v City preview

An away trip is hardly what is required given our current woes on our travels, but concensus is that having the second leg of a European tie at home is a distinct advantage and I do concur that it does benefit us to have the second leg at Eastlands.

A tricky fixture awaits us though, as if we have designs on achieving anything in this competition, FC Copenhagen are opponents we should generally be happy to draw (with Aalborg or Deportivo potentially lying in wait).

The vultures are out once again following the defeat at Portsmouth, and FC Copenhagens manager Stale Stolbakken has also stoked up the atmosphere, citing that we are 'destroying' football:

‘I think that such incredible sums will take part in destroying football.

‘They are creating too big a mental distance between what we call reality and then Manchester City.

‘The hardest part for City is that they, by tradition, are not a big football club and, therefore, all the money in the world does not make a difference for them.

‘They brought in Wayne Bridge, even though he is only marginally better than what they had already — and that says how hard it is to get the best players, even though you have lots of money.’

Mark Hughes feels that we should have the edge in terms of fitness and preparation given our opponents lack of competitive action of late. Team wise, Richard Dunne and Shaun Wright-Phillips are expected to step back into the line-up following domestic suspensions, whilst Micah Richards hopes to shrug off the injury that kept him out at Fratton Park.

Our opponents qualified for this stage by finishing 3rd in Group G behind St Ettiene and Valenica, with five points from their four games. Their domestic form is good, currently lying second in the Danish League behind Brondby, They possess an excellent home record, winning eight and drawing one of their nine games, scoring twenty-one goals and conceding just five so far.

We have shown mixed form on the road in Europe, with the contrasting performances at Schalke and Santander alongside patchy efforts in the qualifying rounds. From Mark Hughes's comments though, it doesn't sound as though we will be adopting too expansive a set up:
"The game is all about making sure we are in good shape for the home leg and that we are on the front foot to bring them back to the City of Manchester Stadium.

"Uefa Cup progression is something that we have been aiming towards since the start of the season and that has not changed.

"The first task was to get through the group and we did that as winners now we want to make the best of that hard work."

It is likely to be a bitterly cold evening in Copenhagen, and I feel we will come away with a 1-1 draw to set things up for a decent second leg.