Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City
Manchester City kicked off their 2019/20 Champions League campaign on Wednesday evening.
City would travel to Shakhtar Donetsk for their first group game.
Shakhtar were also in Man City’s 2018/19 CL group, with the Citizens having beaten them 3-0 and 6-0 in their respective clashes last season.
As well as Shakhtar, City have been drawn in Group C with Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb.
The first 20 minutes or so of Wednesday’s game saw City not create too much, but they would soon step up their intensity, with Riyad Mahrez putting them 1-0 up inside 25 minutes.
Mahrez in the right place at the right time pic.twitter.com/MMbjQjOR7G
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
Ilkay Gundogan then made it 2-0 in the 37th minute, before Gabriel Jesus put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute.
Here are three key talking points from the game.
How will Man City cope without Stones & Laporte?
Manchester City were recently handed a rather big injury blow.
Aymeric Laporte was one of City’s standout central defenders last campaign, and started this season positively as well.
However, Laporte was recently injured vs Brighton, with Pep Guardiola having confirmed that the Frenchman will be out until next year.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Aymeric Laporte faces a lengthy absence, saying he will be back “next year sure, January or February.”
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 13, 2019
That left just John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as out-and-out first-team centre-backs for City.
But City’s injury woes got even worse earlier this week, when it was reported that Stones could be out for 4-5 weeks.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) September 17, 2019
That leaves Otamendi as City’s only fit senior centre-back for at least a month. Fernandinho was the man to partner Otamendi vs Shakhtar.
How we line-up in Kharkiv!
XI | Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho (C), Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus
Subs | Bravo, Aguero, Bernardo, Silva, Mendy, Cancelo, E Garcia
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 18, 2019
Fernandinho does the job vs Shakhtar
The Brazilian had played four games at centre-back in his career before tonight, including vs Brighton when Laporte was injured.
Fernandinho had a fairly quiet opening 45 minutes vs Shakhtar, and looked pretty comfortable slotted in next to Otamendi.
The versatile midfielder had very little to do in the second-half as well.
While Man City will come up against some tougher sides before Laporte and Stones are back, Fernadinho should certainly have eased a few fears emanating from Manchester City regarding how they will cope without Stones and Laporte with his confident display vs Shakhtar.
Gundogan & Mahrez on form for Man City
Since joining Man City from Leicester, Riyad Mahrez has never really been able to hold down a consistent starting spot for the Sky Blues.
However, the Algerian certainly staked his claim to do so in the future with his first-half display vs Shakhtar.
Mahrez was in superb form during the first 45 on Wednesday evening.
As mentioned above, Mahrez would open the scoring for City in the 24th minute.
Mahrez would then provide the assist for Ilkay Gundogan’s 38th-minute strike.
Much like Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan was more of a squad player than regular starter during the 2018/19 campaign.
However, the German has featured in all five of City’s Premier League games this season.
Gundogan also put in a very dominant display vs Shakhtar.
It was Gundogan’s curling strike that bounced off the post to allow Mahrez to open the scoring for City.
The midfielder then got on the scoresheet himself with a very cool finish.
While Gundogan could have perhaps done a bit better with a chance in the second-half, his overall display should have pleased Pep Guardiola.
Shakhtar’s awful record vs Man City
As mentioned above, City had Shakhtar in their CL group last season.
Those games saw Man City put nine goals past the Ukrainian outfit.
The English champions would then add another three goals on Wednesday evening.
That meant that in the five meetings between the two sides in the CL, Man City have scored a staggering 15 goals vs Shakhtar.
According to Opta, Shakhtar’s 15 goals conceded vs City is the most goals they have conceded against any side in the Champions League.
That record will likely only be extended in the near future as well, as Shakhtar still have to play Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad on the 26th of November.
This stat was posted by Opta when City were leading Shakhtar by 2 goals to nil on Wednesday.
14 – Shakhtar Donetsk have conceded 14 goals in their five meetings with Manchester City in the Champions League; the most they’ve conceded against an opponent in the competition. Bundle. pic.twitter.com/PHrICJBunY
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 18, 2019
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