Mens Team

Nine changes for City: Aguero on bench

Nine changes for City: Aguero on bench
City make nine changes from the side that recorded a 2-0 win over Fulham at the weekend.

Only Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez remain from the starting XI against the Cottagers as Pep Guardiola makes good on his promise to rotate and rest tired legs.

Nathan Ake and Zack Steffen get rare starts while Sergio Aguero also makes a welcome return on the bench after several weeks out with a muscle injury.

Ruben Dias and Rodrigo are given a well deserved rest.

Teams

City: Steffen, Walker, Aké, Laporte, Garcia, Fernandinho (c), Gündogan, Bernardo, Torres, Foden, Mahrez

Substitutes: Carson, Stones, Sterling, Jesus, Agüero, De Bruyne, Mendy, Cancelo, Nmecha, Doyle, Palmer, Bernabe

Marseille: Mandanda, Sakai, González, Balerdi, Nagatomo, Sanson, Kamara, Gueye, Thauvin, Germain, Payet

Substitutes: Strootman, Benedetto, de Lima, Caleta-Car,Pelé, Cuisance, Rongier, Aké, Khaoui, Perrin, Vanni

Formation and tactics

City won’t change the usual blueprint for the visit of Marseille.

We will play a flexible and fluid 4-3-3 against the French side who must better Olympiakos’ result against Porto – or hope the Greeks suffer a heavy loss.

A Marseille victory or draw could see them through to the Europa League, so don’t expect Andre Villas-Boas’ side to sit deep and hope for the best.

That could mean an open, attacking encounter which will suit City’s creative talents will look to exploit any spaces that may open up.

Manchester derby carrot?

Pep Guardiola will not have made any decisions on the team to face United this weekend.

He will, of course, have a good idea of who will play at Old Trafford, but everyone who plays this evening will have a chance to make a favourable impression.

That’s what fierce competition for places creates and why there is no such thing as a ‘dead rubber’ for this City team.

Stats and facts

  • Since Pep Guardiola took charge of City, a third of our defeats in the Champions League have been by French teams - three out of nine.
  • City have conceded only one goal in the Champions League this season (the joint fewest alongside Chelsea). The last side to concede as few by the end of the group stages was Barcelona in 2017-18 (one), while the last English side was Manchester United in 2010-11 (also one).
  • Should City beat Marseille, they will finish the group with 16 points, the joint most of any English side in a single group stage, along with Arsenal in 2005-06 (finalists), Manchester United in 2007-08 (winners), and Tottenham Hotspur in 2017-18 (last 16).
  • City have kept a clean sheet in four consecutive Champions League matches since conceding one goal at home to Porto in October. The last side to record five or more consecutive shutouts in the competition was Juventus in 2016-17 (Porto are also on a run of four consecutive clean sheets in the competition).
  • Marseille have lost their past seven away games in the Champions League. Another defeat on Wednesday would see them record their worst losing run on the road in the competition..

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