Manchester City’s flying start to the Champions League continued when they trashed Atalanta 5-1 at the Etihad a fortnight ago but things could be a lot harder for them in Italy tonight.
Pep Guardiola’s men relished taking on an open, aggressive side and despite going ahead after an impressive early start, the Italians were eventually cut open by the men in blue. That leaves City with nine points and almost one foot in the knockouts, and with a trip to Premier League leaders Liverpool coming on Sunday, it’s fair to say that the League’s likely to take priority this evening.
This could still lead to a goal fest though. City might have been blunter than usual in beating Southampton but they still have a deep pool of attacking riches. Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus all started upfront in a 3-1 victory against Southampton in the EFL Cup last week and in midfield, Bernardo Silva played alongside youngsters Tommy Doyle and Phil Foden.
Atalanta v Man City
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
20:00 BT Sport 3 HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2000)
OCT 2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Manchester City 5-1 Atalanta
Guardiola’s likely to have a deep bench too – Kevin De Bryune and David Silva were on the bench in that EFL Cup game – so even if minds are focused on Sunday, City will have firepower.
So do Atlanta. They may have no points from Group C so far but they do not lack an eye for goal – they’ve scored in two of their three games so far and knock in the goals with aplomb domestically. No side has a higher goals per game average (4.4 goals per game) than they do in Serie A, and 12 of their 14 matches this season have produced over 2.5 goals, with 10 returning over 3.5.
They have an excellent forward line with Josip Ilicic, Alejandro Gomez and the in-form Luis Muriel all sure to be up for attacking a City defence which is still under strength. Aymeric Laporte is a long term injury absentee and Guardiola has had two more pieces of unwanted injury news with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rodri set to miss up to six weeks with injuries. Left-back Zinchenko has had surgery on a knee problem and midfielder Rodri – who has been deputising at centre-back and doing so effectively – has suffered a hamstring injury.
City have looked more defensively vulnerable this season since Laporte was ruled out and Atalanta will look to attack City’s rearguard in what could be a high scoring game again. The 6/1 on Atalanta to score over 0.5 goals and over 5.5 Atalanta corners is interesting.
Atalanta games also do have plenty of cards too – there were 7 in their 3-3 draw with Lazio, 5 in their 3-1 win over Lecce, 8 in their defeat against Shakhtar and 6 in the meeting between the two sides two weeks ago. That makes card specials interesting, with Manchester City to win, both teams to score and over 5.5 cards in the match appealing at 10/1.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Manchester City to win, both teams to score and over 5.5 cards in the match 1 pt at 10/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Atalanta BC to score over 0.5 goals and over 5.5 Atalanta BC corners 1 pt at 6/1 with starsports.bet
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