Manchester City vs Sevilla
The Manchester giants will head into Europe on the back of another comprehensive domestic win. Manuel Pellegrini’s men got the better of newly promoted Bournemouth 5-1 over the weekend. Raheem Sterling, their summer signing from Liverpool, turned on the style with a sparkling hat-trick, while Wilfried Bony, given a starting berth in the absence of Sergio Aguero, contributed with a brace.
However, it has been proven time and again that the domestic form is one thing, and Europe is entirely another for the Citizens. Heading into their Champions League opener against Juventus this season, Pellegrini’s men were enjoying a 100 per cent win record but folded up against the Old Lady.
But they recovered in their next match and registered a narrow 2-1 win against German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach. In their next match, they will be up against reigning Europa League champions, Sevilla. The Sevillistas haven’t had the best of starts this term as they sit tenth in La Liga standings. They will be greatly boosted by their recent 2-1 win over reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona. Under Unai Emery’s management, they will surely fancy their chances against the Citizens, playing the same brand of attacking and nerveless football that has punctuated their European campaigns of the last two seasons. This has seen them pocket successive Europa League trophies.
Pellegrini has come up against Emery many times during his stint in the Spanish league, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with in the midweek clash. It sure promises to be an enticing game in what is proverbially the Group of Death in the Champions League this season.
Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow
The Red Devils were absolutely hammered by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their last league encounter before the international break as they went 3-0 down by the 20th minute and ultimately lost by the same margin. However, they recovered and registered a stunning 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park – a ground that has proven to be a tough hunting ground for the Red Devils.
Louis van Gaal will hope that the win over the Toffees has erased memories of that bitter defeat to the Gunners as they head into the difficult trip to Moscow to take on CSKA Moscow at the Arena Khimki.
Van Gaal’s men started their European campaign with a 2-1 defeat against PSV Eindhoven – the match saw Luke Shaw suffer a double fracture in his leg that has ruled him out for months – and then they went on to defeat Wolfsburg in their next game. The Manchester giants are second in the group standings behind the Dutchmen and will be eager to grab all three points against the Moscow outfit.
However, CSKA Moscow will be far from pushovers at home, and Van Gaal has also acknowledged the difficulty his side will be up against especially as the trip so close on the heels of the international break.