The Champiooooooooooons... Welcome back, Champions League! Europe’s best club competition is back this week, and Manchester City make their season debut away from home against Feyenoord.
This doesn’t seem like a tough match at first glance given it’s one of the top teams in Europe against a Dutch side, but Feyenoord are the reigning Eredivisie champions and won every one of their matches so far this season, and they have a strong enough side to cause City lots of problems on Wednesday night.
Here are a few players who can have an impact on this match:
The young midfielder is one of the top talents in Eredivisie and has already faced a Manchester team in an European competition when his Feyenoord faced Manchester United in the group stage of last season’s Europa League. Vilhena impressed at Old Trafford and has earned a few call-ups to the Dutch national team over the last 12 months.
Vilhena is perhaps the best player in the current Feyenoord team and is a very dangerous player. He’s a good dribbler and can shoot from distance, and his gas tank is endless which means he’ll run for days. City will probably have the ball for most of the game, so Vilhena will need to be at his defensive best to give his team a chance to get points.
City’s best player in August is once again available to play after sitting out against Liverpool due to a suspension. Sterling scored two goals in his first three games and will be in contention to start as Pep Guardiola will be looking to rotate his squad a little bit in this game, and Sterling should be excited about this match.
Feyenoord have two slow center-backs and lost their two starting full-backs over the summer, so Raheem will have plenty of opportunities to run in behind the defense and beat his markers with his skills. Sterling’s always had issues with his end product but seems to be improving on that aspect this season and should be on the scoresheet if City get the win on Wednesday.
Feyenoord lost their top scorer Nicolai Jorgensen to a hamstring injury over the weekend, so Kramer will be called upon to provide some scoring threat up front. The Dutchman is tall and strong in the air, and will be looking to cause some problems to John Stones and the City defense.
Kramer scored just five goals in 19 appearances last season, so he doesn’t look like a huge threat for the Blues, but anything can happen with the City defense and Kramer might get a goal if given the chance on set pieces.
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian had a slow start to the season but showed his entire skill set in last weekend’s amazing win against Liverpool, and he’ll be crucial to a victory at Feyenoord if he gets the start on Wednesday.
The Dutch champions are likely to sit back and put 10 men behind the ball, so De Bruyne’s passing ability will be more than necessary against a parked bus. He’s the best player in the City squad in picking out passes regardless of distance, and it’ll be Kevin’s responsibility to get the forwards in positions to score. And he’ll probably do that.