Champions League

An opportunity to rotate – How Manchester City could line up against Porto

With qualification in the bag, Pep Guardiola could shuffle the pack for City’s trip to Portugal.

10:26am on Monday 30th November 2020
Nicholas Hughes

After returning back to domestic form in a big way at the weekend, City will go into European action knowing their path to the round of 16 is all but secure with two fixtures remaining.

A win against Porto will confirm top spot in the group, as would a draw providing City don’t lose at home to Marseille in the final game.

The Citizens dismantled Burnley 5-0 on Saturday, with hat-trick hero Riyad Mahrez likely to go again in midweek after a standout display against the Clarets.

Man City: Squad, FC Ratings, Matches, Formations

2020/21 Champions League: Groups, Matches, Team Stats, Player Stats

Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte were all rested for that game and could play here, but Guardiola may find opportunities for fringe players to play.

Eric Garcia has started just four games for City in all competitions and could come in at centre back. John Stones impressed against Burnley and Pep might opt for the former Evertonian again.

Fernandinho and Phil Foden also saw the bulk of Saturday’s win from the bench, with the latter likely to feature against Porto for the fifth Champions League game in a row, while Brazilian Fernandinho is yet to start a game in Europe.

Bernardo Silva didn’t come on against Burnley and has been struggling for his usual world-class form so far this season, with a return to his home country perhaps serving as an opportunity to build some momentum.

A rested Sterling could join Mahrez and Ferran Torres, fresh from scoring his first Premier League goal and with three to his name in the Champions League, up front.

The big question mark for the Sky Blues surrounds Sergio Aguero’s availability. The Argentine has played just 191 minutes across all competitions this season and didn’t make the matchday 18 for the visit of the Clarets.

The 32-year-old scored his only goal of the season in the reverse fixture, but this tie will likely come too soon for him to play from the start, with a cameo off the bench far more probable.

Despite having their fate in the competition sealed, Pep will see these fixtures as an opportunity to build confidence going into a hectic December schedule domestically, and City will not be taking this clash lightly.

Manchester City starting XI versus Porto

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