Manchester City will aim to preserve their unbeaten record in Group G of the Champions League when they welcome Sevilla to the Etihad Stadium for their final group game on Wednesday. Man City has no reason to launch a squad to welcome Sevilla in tonight’s match.
In the past week, Pep Guardiola surprised when he removed Phil Foden from the starting line-up of Man City in 2 consecutive Premier League matches. This decision surprised Man City fans, because Foden had started all 10 previous matches and shone brightly with 6 goals and 4 assists.
When asked about this during the press conference before the match against Sevilla, Pep bluntly replied: “There is no reason at all. That’s just what I decided to do.” Without Foden, Man City still won Brighton and Leicester. No one understands what Pep’s real intentions are, but does not rule out the possibility that the English midfielder was “punished” for playing badly against Liverpool.
Before that, Pep Guardiola also surprised when he publicly criticized De Bruyne even though the midfielder scored. It seems, the Spanish coach wants to reassert his power at the Etihad, and warns the stars of Man City to try every second if they want to play regularly.
Also because of Pep’s unusual whims, no one can predict what he will do. Normally, the coaches would roll out the reserve squad for a procedural match, but Pep can do it differently. Before the match against Sevilla tonight, Man City was sure to go ahead with the top of Group G. In the opposite direction, Sevilla was also soon eliminated and won a place in the Europa League play-off round. Both teams have no motivation to compete in terms of points and they are allowed to launch the 2nd squad to keep the strength for the domestic tournament.
However, Pep can completely aim for a bold victory against Sevilla to boost Man City’s morale, especially when they continue to lose Erling Haaland. Last weekend, Man City faced many difficulties against Leicester without Haaland. They only won the minimum thanks to De Bruyne’s super free kick.
Pep needs to take advantage of procedural matches like with Sevilla to test alternatives to Haaland. Julián Alvarez has a lot of potential but is not suitable as a striker, while the rest of Man City’s attacking players are used to playing on the wing.
So, the most interesting thing about tonight’s game is how Pep likes it. The Spaniard has used a strikerless team many times at Man City, and he can replicate this in another way when he hosts Sevilla.
Prediction: Man City to win 3-0
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ortega; Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Gomez; Bernardo, Rodri, Gundogan; Foden, Alvarez, Grealish
Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Navas, Gudelj, Marcao, Acuna; Rakitic, Jordan; Januzaj, Isco, Gomez; Mir
Manchester City vs Sevilla Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- Manchester City have a flawless record against Sevilla and have won all the three matches that have been played between the two teams so far in European competitions.
- Manchester City have scored nine goals in their three European games against Sevilla and won the reverse fixture by a comfortable 4-0 margin.
- Sevilla are winless in their last three UEFA Champions League matches against Manchester City and have only faced Borussia Dortmund on more occasions without a victory in the competition.
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has lost only two of his 13 matches against Sevilla and has seen his teams score an impressive 33 goals against the Andalusians.
- Sevilla are winless in their last seven group-stage games against English teams in the UEFA Champions League, with their previous such victory coming against Arsenal in 2007.
- Manchester City have won 26 of their 32 home games in the UEFA Champions League under Pep Guardiola – the highest home-win percentage for any manager that has managed at least 20 games in the competition’s history.