Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Match Preview: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester City

City looking to bounce back after Bayern defeat

By Rebecca Halliwell

Manchester City have made the long trip to the Russian capital as they prepare to face CSKA Moscow in their third match of the 13/14 Champions League campaign.

At the weekend, the Blues secured a win against West Ham United, meaning their first league away win of this season. Manchester City played well with Sergio Agüero scoring two goals and David Silva netting the third. The Blues are now sitting fourth in the league and second in their Champions League group.
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

CSKA Moscow are currently sixth in the Russian Premier League and third in Group D. They lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich and beat Viktoria Plzeň 3-2, coming from behind to win. This will be their second home game in the Champions League this year and they will be hoping to secure a win to put them second. CSKA have had a mixed run of recent games both domestically on in Europe - having won one, drawn one and lost three of their last five matches.

Tosic and Honda were vital players against Plzeň, scoring two of the three goals that gave CSKA three points.

However, CSKA will compete without several key players such as Brazilian defender Mário Fernandes, Latvian midfielder Aleksandrs Cauņa and Russian international playmaker Alan Dzagoev, with the three being ruled out due to injury.

Martín Demichelis and Jack Rodwell haven’t travelled with the City squad as well, leaving Manuel Pellegrini with the decision as to who will play in the centre of defence. David Silva put in an excellent performance at the weekend, providing Sergio Agüero with an assist as well as scoring a goal himself.

Agüero linked very well with Álvaro Negredo but with the two having played at the weekend, will Pellegrini start with Edin Džeko or Stevan Jovetić?

The Chilean will want a win in the Champions League tonight and put the Blues in a great position ahead of the final three games. However, he might have one eye on Sunday afternoon as City head to London to take on title rivals Chelsea. A win would mean that we could potentially go top should Arsenal and Liverpool lose.

My thoughts

I think that this will be a tough match, with both teams needing a win if they want to keep their hopes of qualification in their own hands.

I expect Pellegrini to go with the defensive partnership of Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasić in the heart of the defence, with Pablo Zabaleta replacing Micah Richards on the right. 

I can also see Džeko getting a start, and with pitch conditions at Arena Khimki reportedly in a terrible state, the Blues will have to play well if they want to grab their second win in the Champions League this season.  

Prediction: CSKA Moscow 1 - 2 City

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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