AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Man City v Atalanta

Manchester City’s defensive issues have caused them problems in the Premier League, but their bid for a first ever Champions League title is going perfectly and they’re expected to make it three group wins from three against Atalanta tonight.

Pep Guardiola is still having to bear with his defensive situation – Aymeric Laporte is still out, Nicolas Otamendi was not in the squad on Saturday and John Stones was only deemed fit enough for the bench – but the call to play defensive midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri at centreback worked out brilliantly, with City actually able to have even more options to play out from the back as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0.

That result was a welcome turnaround from their surprise home defeat to Wolves, and whilst the scoreline seemed routine, the performance was remarkable; City sealed the three points with two goals 93 seconds apart from Gabriel Jesus and David Silva but they won the shot count 21-7, the shots on target count 10-2, the corner count 8-1 and then produced an incredible expected goals number of 4.5 at in of the toughest grounds in the Premier League to visit.

We already know about the riches City have in attack but the selection of Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Mendy proved to be a masterstroke as City dominated out wide and whoever is selected to play upfront – there’s a choice to be made between Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero but either of them will be helped by the two Silvas and Raheem Sterling – Guardiola doesn’t need to worry about matters going forward.

Atalanta love to attack too, so this could be a game full of goals. Gian Piero’s Gasperini’s side are the top scorers in Serie A with 21 goals in eight matches and have scored twice in all of their league encounters so far. It is that sort of attacking strength which sees them sit third in the league table after eight games but in Europe they have not been so successful, with a 4-0 loss against Dinamo Zagreb and a 2-1 home defeat to Shakhtar which came with a 90th-minute winner for the away side.

They went 3-0 up at Lazio within 37 minutes thanks to a Luis Muriel double and a third goal from Alejandro Gomez but were pulled back, thanks in part to two penalties from Ciro Immobile despite winning the shots on target count 9-5. Whilst they have a whole load of creative skill in the shape of Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic, centre-backs Simon Kjaer and Jose Palomino being injured does give them problems defensively and City will be looking forward to this encounter this evening.

Man City v Atalanta
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
20:00 BT Sport 2 HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2000)
First Meeting Between Sides

A fair few goals could be likely if both teams continue with the approach they’ve taken so far, so it’s no surprise that all the goals markets are short. An interesting feature of Atalanta games is the number of cards that we’ve seen – there were 7 in their 3-3 draw with Lazio, 5 in their 3-1 win over Leece, and 8 in their defeat against Shakhtar. The Star Special that offers 11/2 on Manchester City winning, both teams scoring and over 4.5 cards in the match could have a live shot and so could the 7/2 on there being four goals, 11 corners and 5 cards or more.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)

BACK Manchester City to win, both teams to score and over 4.5 cards in the match 1 pt at 11/2 with starsports.bet
BACK Over 3.5 goals, over 10.5 corners and over 2.5 cards in the match 1 pt at 7/2 with starsports.bet


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