Three key talking points from Man City’s win over Shakhtar Donetsk

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Manchester City’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian forward Junior Moraes vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C football match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City FC at the OSK Metalist stadium in Kharkiv on September 18, 2019. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

KHARKOV, UKRAINE – SEPTEMBER 18: Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City at Metalist Stadium on September 18, 2019 in Kharkov, Ukraine. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

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.

See also: Manchester United vs Astana betting tips: Europa League match preview & predictions

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