The European season starts this Wednesday for Manchester city with a trip to the Netherlands for the first group stage match in the Champions League, away to Dutch champions Feyenoord. This promises to be a tough game for the Blues, but City can be considered favorites for a few reasons.
First: City are actual Champions League title favorites this season with an amazingly talented squad and the pedigree of Pep Guardiola in this competition. Second: the Dutch champions lost three key players over the summer, including captain and legend Dirk Kuyt, and they’ll be without top scorer Nicolai Jorgensen and their best defender in Ridgeciano Haps for this match. Third: even if they had all of their best players, Feyenoord would still not be at the same level as City, and although football is a crazy, crazy sport, City would be favored to win in any circumstance.
The fact that the Blues are tipped to win means Pep Guardiola could consider a bit of a rotation of his squad in this match, but the City manager doesn’t mess with the Champions League and will go with a strong lineup for this one. Expect City to come out with an urgency to get the victory against a Feyenoord side likely to sit back and absorb pressure, and expect a tricky game for the Blues.
MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING
Date/Time: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 7:45pm (UK & Nigeria), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 12:15am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Television: BT Sport ESPN (UK), Fox Soccer Plus (USA), SuperSport 1 (Nigeria), Not Televised (Canada), Sony ESPN (India)
Online streaming: BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
Éderson Moraes has recovered well from his head injury suffered against Liverpool and should be available to start, but there’s a good chance Claudio Bravo gets the nod in this one with Éderson being rested to be ready for Watford at the weekend. Vincent Kompany is still not fit to play, but the captain should be ready soon.
Guardiola could revert back to the 4-3-3 formation, which means he’ll have to choose between Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Agüero in the front three. Pep is truly spoiled for choice with this squad, and whatever he decides to do, a strong and attacking lineup will be ready to get the win at De Kuip.
Manchester City (4-3-3)
Éderson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Jones; Diks, Botteghin, Heijden, Nelom; Ahmadi, Toornstra, Vilhena; Berghuis, Kramer, Boëtius
This could very well be a much tougher match than people expect, but City will get the win: 3-1 to the Blues.