Premier League champions Manchester City get their assault on European football underway on Wednesday night as they take on Shakhtar Donetsk.
Coming into the match, the Citizens are one of the favourites to claim the trophy come the end of the season despite having never progressed past the semi-finals before. Pep Guardiola’s men can be backed at a price of 10/3 with Betfred.
Elsewhere, the Ukranian outfit, who won the UEFA Europa League back in 2009, have never gone past the quarter-finals of the competition. Understandably, they are largely unfancied to taste glory at a huge price of 250/1.
Ironically, the two sides are meeting in the group stages of the Champions League for the third year in a row, this time alongside Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta. Once again, Manchester City are the favourites to run out as victors of the group and have been priced as low as 1/8 with Paddy Power. Meanwhile, Luis Castro’s men can be backed at 9/1 to qualify for the knockout rounds as group winners.
If the past between these two is anything to go off however, it should be the Premier League outfit that should run out comfortable winners. In the past four matches between the two sides, Manchester City have won three, with Shakhtar’s only victory coming in December 2017. They are at 10/1 to shock spectators again, whilst the English side sit at 2/7 to add to their collection of wins. A draw is available at 9/2.
City’s three past victories have all been to nil and it could be a smart bet to back this eventuality occurring on Wednesday evening at a price of 23/20 with William Hill.
It is certainly going to be a fierce battle to decide who is going to lead the line for City for this match. Sergio Aguero has been in tremendous form so far this season and sits at 3/1 to open the scoring with his eighth goal already so far this season. Gabriel Jesus hit a hat-trick the last time the sides met though and can be backed at slightly larger odds of 16/5. Marlos Bonfim is the favourite to open the scoring from Shakhtar’s perspective at a price of 16/1.
Despite City’s wealth of options in attack, it is at the other end of the pitch where they’re under the most threat. Following Aymeric Laporte’s long-term injury, John Stones has also been ruled out, leaving Guardiola to potentially squeeze former Shakhtar man Fernandinho at centre-back.