Manchester City welcome Porto to the Etihad Stadium in a huge Champions League Group C clash as both clubs look to seize an early advantage in Group C.
With Olympiacos and Marseille also in this group, victory here is crucial if Man City or Porto are to seize an early initiative in what promises to potentially be a tough section if they’re to qualify for the knockout stages.
Man City have no fresh injury concerns to report with Sergio Aguero expected to start despite only just returning from a knee injury in Saturday’s Premier League win over Arsenal.
Benjamin Mendy (unspecified), Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kevin De Bruyne (both muscle) and Gabriel Jesus (quad) remain absent.
Porto will be without Ivan Marcano and Mouhamed Mbaye due to long-term knee injuries.
- Man City are unbeaten in two previous meetings against Porto, although both previous clashes came in February 2012 in Europa League (W2).
- Porto failed to keep a clean sheet in their only previous trip to the Etihad Stadium, losing 4-0 in February 2012.
- City have won three of last four clashes against Portuguese opposition although those four matches came in February and March 2012 in Europa League knockouts (W3, L1).
- Porto have avoided defeat in just one of last four matches against English opposition, albeit against Liverpool on all four occasions (D1, L3).
- Raheem Sterling has scored four goals in three of his last four European home appearances for Man City.
Pep Guardiola will certainly be worried about this hectic run of fixtures given how light his Man City squad is in fullback and strike positions when it comes to experience at present, which could influence his selection and tactic choices because he cannot afford any more injuries with Mendy currently joining likes of Zinchenko and Jesus on sidelines.
City however finally seem to be finding their traditional feet after a slow start to the season with two strong performances in terms of attack yet marking seemed to be their biggest weakness on Saturday against Arsenal, which Porto should look to exploit with their blended squad of youth and experience if can get forward and trouble the Citizens’ defence.
I am therefore not expecting much from this game given City’s situation but given the evolution in quality since their last meeting over eight years ago, I can see City just about getting the job done, even if De Bruyne is a miss in terms of creativity.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Porto
Result: Manchester City 3-1 Porto