Pep Guardiola’s side travel to Porto on Tuesday night as they look not only to build on their dominant 5-0 over Burnley at the weekend, but also to secure first place in their Champions League group.
Manchester City have won all four of their European games this season, and a win over second-placed Porto would ensure the top spot for the Blues and a better chance of a good draw in the Round of 16 stage.
Pep Guardiola reported before the Burnley game that every player available in the squad was fit and available – before Sergio Agüero was removed from the squad due to a disturbance in his knee. The Argentine is the only player who is likely to miss the game, as he didn’t train with the rest of the squad this week.
Porto’s only key long-term absentee is centre-back Ivan Marcano, who suffered a cruciate ligament rupture earlier in the year. In addition to Marcano, captain Pepe has missed the last three games with a foot injury, and is likely to miss Tuesday’s game as well.
Head to Head:
Porto have lost each of their three meetings with Manchester City, with an aggregate scoreline of 9-2 overall. Before this season, City’s last game away in Porto was a 2-1 win in the last-32 round in the Europa League – City went on to win the tie 6-1 overall.
The last game between the two sides came earlier this year – it’s the only game in Europe that Porto have lost this season. Porto struck first through a solo goal from Luis Diaz, but a penalty from Sergio Aguero levelled the scoreline before half-time. A brilliant free-kick from Ilkay Gundogan and a third goal from impact-substitute Ferran Torres gave City the three points on matchday one in Group C.
Pep Guardiola also faced Porto three times in his career before coming to Manchester. Two games against the Portuguese side in the 2014/15 Champions League quarter-final stage resulted in a 7-4 aggregate win for Pep’s Bayern Munich, and in the 2011/12 Super Cup, Guardiola’s Barcelona won 2-0 to win that trophy.
Porto have had a mixed start to their league season – their six wins in nine games places them only fourth in Portugal’s top division. They have, however, won their last three domestic games as well as their last three European games, scoring thirteen and conceding just once across those six matches.
City appear to have bounced back from their defeat against Spurs earlier in the month with wins against Olympiacos and Burnley. Their weekend game against Burnley saw Guardiola’s team score five goals, which was the first time this season they’ve scored more than three in a match.
Porto’s form against English clubs is very poor – they are winless in their last five games against teams from the Premier League, with their last victory against English opposition being a 5-0 win over Leicester in December 2016.
City, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last seven games against Portuguese opposition in Europe, that being a 1-0 away defeat to Sporting Lisbon in 2012, who went on to win that Europa League last-16 tie on away goals.
The officiating team for this game is a largely Dutch affair – referee Björn Kuipers and his assistants Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra all hail from the Netherlands. The Belgian fourth official Lawrence Visser is the only non-Dutchman in the team. The VAR technology will be managed by Pol van Boekel and Rob Diepernik.
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