Man City v Steaua Bucharest: Champions League preview
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side are all but confirmed to be in Thursday’s Champions League group stage draw. Heading into Wednesday night’s play-off second leg with a 5-0 lead, the Citizens’ match against Steaua Bucharest is a mere formality.
Despite missing two first half penalites, Sergio Aguero bagged a hat-trick in the first leg in Romania. Goals from David Silva and summer signing Nolito completed the rout.
City’s fine form continued on the weekend with a 4-1 win at Stoke. With West Ham visiting the Etihad on Sunday, Guardiola is likely to opt for a much-changed line up on Wednesday.
In his pre-match press conference, Guardiola insisted that the tie was not over: “I have a lot of respect for the opponent and I know what happens in football.
“I have known we have a huge advantage. Our pre-season was focused to prepare the team especially for this game. I said to the players: ‘Sorry guys, we aren’t in the Champions League already.
“I don’t like to play the game when people say it’s easy and it’s finished. No, a lot can happen. Maybe after 10 minutes there is a red card or a penalty. Anything can happen. So take it seriously and play the game.”
It’s worth noting that the Romanian side have never won in England in nine previous European matches.
Team News: Hart set to start
Although he’s been told he may leave the club, goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to start in goal for City tonight. His replacement, Claudio Bravo, is close to completing a move to the Etihad.
Right-back Bacary Sagna is still carrying a knock that ruled him out of Saturday’s win at Stoke. Injured trio Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and captain Vincent Kompany have all returned to training but aren’t match fit.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala are not registered for the tie, with the latter three likely to leave the club before the close of the transfer window.
The match could provide the perfect opportunity to hand starts to youngsters such as Kelechi Iheanacho and Pablo Maffeo.
Man City predicted line up
Steaua Bucharest predicted line up
101 Great Goals Prediction
Man City 3-0 Steaua Bucharest