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Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, Champions League: Players to Watch

Four players from both teams to keep an eye on this Tuesday

FC Schalke 04 v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Following a sensational win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Manchester City are right back into action with their first home match in the Champions League this season, welcoming Shakhtar Donetsk to the Etihad for what could be a crucial group stage match for the Blues.

City and Shakhtar won their opening matches, and a victory in this one would put City in a strong position to advance in first place. There’ll be two very difficult matches in a row against Napoli coming up, so a win on Tuesday will really help the Blues.

It won’t be easy against Shakhtar, though, and here are a few players from both teams that could have a big impact on Tuesday’s game:


Marlos Bonfim

The Brazilian is perhaps the best player in the Shakhtar squad, and the seven goals he’s scored in 14 appearances help prove it. Marlos plays primarily as a right midfielder but loves to roam around the pitch when attacking, and he can do it all with the ball including assists and dribbling moves.

Marlos will be the key to Shakhtar’s good result at the Etihad if they get it, and the Blues will need to focus on his ability to impact play from wide areas as well as in the middle of the park. Shakhtar will attack on Wednesday, and Marlos will surely be at the heart of it.

Fernandinho

This is a special match for Fernandinho. The Brazilian has played for only two clubs in his European career: Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk. At the Ukrainian club, Fernandinho became a cult hero thanks to his great skills as a footballer and his fighting spirit.

During eight seasons in Donetsk, Fernandinho won 11 major titles and was named the best player in Ukraine in 2009. He moved to City in 2013 and is also a hero as a Blue, and it’ll be interesting to see what he’ll do if he scores a goal.

Facundo Ferreyra

The Argentinean is the top scorer for Shakhtar this season with 8 goals in 13 matches, including one in the Champions League match against Napoli two weeks ago. Ferreyra will start up top on Tuesday night, and along with Marlos he’ll be the player City defenders have to worry about the most.

Ferreyra is a major aerial threat who loves score on crosses set pieces and crosses from open play, but he’s not a one-trick pony; Ferreyra can also keep the ball and is quick enough to run in behind and get goals on the ground. John Stones is in good form, but he’ll face the toughest test of the season so far. Ferreyra really is a good striker, and there’s no doubt he’ll cause problems.

Gabriel Jesus

This game is all about South Americans, and another one who can have a major impact is City’s Brazilian wonderkid. After getting rested against Crystal Palace Jesus will surely return and start on Tuesday night, and the 20-year-old will be very hungry for goals.

Jesus has scored five times in his last four appearances, and he’s developing a very good relationship with Sergio Agüero up front. Gabriel has played wide in recent weeks but is always close to the goal when the ball is around the box, and he’ll certainly make a big contribution to the win on Tuesday if the Blues get all three points.