Champions League Preview: Pep Guardiola’s Side Huge Favorites To Win As City Pursuit Treble
After the emphatic win vs Leicester City in the Premier League, Guardiola's army will be gunning to down Basel in their own home.
Manchester City against Basel is not a match many are looking forward to but promises a match to be worth paying attention at.
Both sides won their respective domestic games rather dominantly as Man City thrashed 2016 Premier League champions Leicester 5-1 while Basel beat Thun away two goals to nil.
Sergio Aguero scored a quadruple in the Leicester win as the striker continues his fine form in recent weeks. The forward has a good record in the Champions League, so Basel will have to watch out for this deadly goal-machine from Argentina.
Manchester City come into this competition with little and disappointing history in the Champions League. They have not had much major success and have been regularly knocked out after promising much and yet delivering very little. However, this season they come into the tie as favorites and even are backed to win it all.
Basel have regularly qualified for the premier international club cup competition but have not impressed even though they have shown flashes of brilliance causing expectations of them to rise.
However, they have, at times, come out on top against English opponents. Most notable of the victories are against Chelsea and United so they will be looking to repeat those results.
There will be huge expectations on City to progress and maybe even win the whole thing with there being a notable exception of English teams in the latter stages of the Champion’s League.
City are undoubtedly the finest of the English teams in recent times, but of course, they have to show they can overcome uneasy matches such as these because underdogs have a nasty way of surprising the bigger teams.
The Swiss side played excellently in the group games of the Champions League beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in November.
Basel are also on a purple patch in recent weeks with nine wins from their last ten domestic games. So Raphael Wicky side can give a run for their money at their home.
Both teams come into the game with a great run of form. City have won 4 and drawn 1 of their last five games whereas Basel have lost only once in the past five games. City look to be the favorites on paper and are rightly backed to go through but matches, obviously, are not won on paper.
It may seem like a David v/s Goliath matchup but even David beat Goliath with a well-aimed strike so City would do well to be wary and not underestimate the opponents.
There are a couple of players missing for City with injuries, namely Fabian Delph, Mendy and Leroy Sane among whom Sane will be the one sorely missed due to his pace and trickery.
Basel are missing their keeper Vailati and also their defensive midfielder Zuffi. It might be a blow as they would need every player up against a big club like Man City.
Key Players To Watch
All eyes will be on star striker Sergio Aguero whose role in the starting XI was seriously threatened by the arrival of Gabriel Jesus earlier in the season. However, he has recently answered his critics by scoring tons of goals in the recent games. Sterling will also be a player to watch because of the pace and directness that he brings.
Basel will be looking towards forward Wolfswinkel to score and hopefully help them take the lead back to the Emirates in the return leg.
Basel vs Manchester City Lineup (Predicted XI)
Manchester City Lineup (4-3-3)
Def: Walker Otamendi Laporte Zinkchenko
Mid: De Brunye Fernandinho D. Silva
Basel Lineup (4-4-2)
Def: Lang Suchy Balanta Petretta
Mid: Stocker Gonzaroua Xhaka Elyounoussi
Basel vs Manchester City Prediction
The onus will be on City to grab a vital away goal or two to avoid a tough return leg at home so expect City to be attack while Basel will be looking to attack as well to please their home fans.
Manchester City are huge favorites to win this one. So, we are predicting a comfortable 3—0 victory for the outfit from England.