Man City v Shakhtar Donetsk
Handicap Betting Tip
Manchester City aim to take control of a tight Group F on Wednesday night when they host last-place Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad. The Citizens left Ukraine with a 3-0 victory just two weeks ago and will look to replicate the feat against a squad that has conceded seven times in three matches.
Our Man City v Shakhtar Donetsk betting tip is Man City -2.5 on the Asian Handicap as the hosts are playing with unstoppable confidence at the moment that will leave their visitors without much chance in this clash.
Manchester City enter the match as winners of five straight contests across all competition and seem to be clicking on all fronts. Pep Guardiola’s squad have outscored their opponents 17-1 during that span, leaving themselves first place in both the Premier League and their Champions League group.
Last Sunday saw the Sky Blues explode for six goals at home against Southampton, with all three of their forwards finding the back of the net. Their defence has also been impeccable during the last month, having allowed just two goals over the last five weeks.
Despite a shocking home loss to Lyon in their Champions League opener, the Citizens have produced consecutive wins to lead the group with six points. Two weeks ago they made the long trip to Donetsk and emerged with a 3-0 victory with goals from David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva.
City have lost their last three home matches in European competition, losing to Basel and Liverpool last season before being upset by Lyon this year. However, they had previously gone 13 matches undefeated in Champions League at the Etihad, so they will inspired to reverse the trend on Wednesday.
Four of their last five home European games have ended 2-1, with seven of 10 going over 2.5 total goals.
Shakhtar’s situation is one that they constantly find themselves in: top of the class in the Ukrainian league but unable to find success in Europe.
The team lead the Ukrainian Premier League by a comfortable eight-point margin, having won 12 of their opening 14 fixtures. They have won three straight matches since their loss to City two weeks ago, including a hard-fought 2-1 home victory over rivals Dynamo Kiev on Saturday.
While the long journey to Ukraine often provides them with a strong home-field advantage, it is quite the opposite when they are the ones doing the traveling. Shakhtar have won just one of their last ten away European matches, drawing one and losing eight.
They have only scored in two of those matches, with just four of the ten ending with more than 2.5 total goals.
The teams faced off in the group stages of the competition last season, with City winning their home fixture 2-1 behind goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling. Shakhtar won their home game 2-1 after Bernard and Ismaily scored just six minutes apart in the first-half.
Guardiola will look to replicate the performance of his team in the first encounter, as they completely controlled play from the first whistle, effortlessly moving the ball throughout the pitch.
He is unlikely to change too much in the 4-3-3 formation from last time out, with Sergio Aguero likely to be rested for the Manchester Derby on Sunday. That means it would once again be Gabriel Jesus in the centre, with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez at his sides.
David Silva and Fernandinho should be in their familiar spots in the midfield, while Guardiola could opt to keep De Bruyne on the bench to start the match. If he does so then it could be Fabian Delph, who made his return from injury off the bench against Southampton, getting the starting nod to work himself back into match fitness.
Danilo is also available for duty after missing over a month with an injury and could likely see action on Wednesday night. He should be joined by Oleksandr Zinchenko on the outside of the defence, with John Stones and Vincent Kompany in the middle.
Paulo Fonseca should look to do the exact opposite with his squad, having to find some way to reverse the result from the last match. His squad was thoroughly outplayed, even against a secondary City squad who had made the long journey, so something will need to change if he wants to get anything out of the tie.
The 4-2-3-1 should once again be headed by their main striking option, Junior Moraes. However, he should be supported by a different cast in the attacking midfield. Alan Patrick and Taison could be added into the mix in place of Fernando and Viktor Kovalenko, while Wellington Nem should keep his spot on the right-wing.
Maycon and Taras Stepanenko will have to do better from the defensive-midfield than the last game, as Jesus and Mahrez were able to find space far too easily.
The defensive-line will stay the same for the match and will likely receive additional help from the midfield. Knowing they have little chance to cause an upset on Wednesday, Fonseca may opt to try and hold on for a draw.
Guardiola has a major match coming up against United on Sunday, so he will have the idea of resting several key players in his mind. With the team performing well in the last affair without the likes of Aguero, Sane and Kyle Walker in the starting lineup, he shouldn’t be too concerned about leaving them out.
The manager has been boosted by news of several players becoming available for duty, giving him his entire squad to choose from. Danilo, Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolas Otamendi have all been included in Wednesday’s squad after missing several weeks each with injury.
Fonseca has no new injury concerns heading into the match and will be able to field his strongest lineup.
Taison sat out the first half against Dynamo Kiev on Saturday and should be inserted into the starting lineup. Wellington Nem was rested as well, meaning that he should be in contention for a starting spot against City.
Viktor Kovalenko made a case for his inclusion by scoring the winning goal off the bench this weekend, but a poor performance at home against City may leave him as a substitute this time around.
The way that Man City’s offence has played over the past month makes it hard for anybody to contend with them, let alone an overmatched side having to make a 3,000 mile journey.
Without much positives to build on from the reverse fixture, it will be incredibly difficult for Fonseca to get his team up for this matchup. Guardiola, on the other hand, has the luxury of playing a secondary unit of players hungry to impress, much like they did in last week’s League Cup win over Fulham.
We don’t see anything other than a comfortable City victory in a match that they continue their free-flowing style, winning in a decisive fashion along the lines of a 4-0 final.
Published on: 7 Nov 2018 @ 11:02
See how the match unfolds below with our Match Day Updates showing the starting 11 teams, goals, cards and subs.