They say that you make your own luck but some teams need more than mere luck to stop them and that is probably the case regarding Manchester City, who arrive with a first leg advantage for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Schalke.
A fortnight ago in Germany, City were in control, having gone ahead through Raheem Sterling, and they looked likelier to go further ahead rather than concede at any point with 70% of possession. However, twenty minutes later, a ball heading into the area struck the arm of Nicolas Otamendi as he tried to move it behind his back. VAR intervened and the penalty was given.
Then, on the stroke of half time, a penalty was deservedly called, and City were 2-1 down. The sending off of Otamendi in the second half for a poor foul, and City were suddenly in a deep spot.
However, the Premier League champions are nothing if not resilient and a brilliant Leroy Sane free kick brought them level before Raheem Sterling kept his cool after a long range Ederson goal kick to take a win away from the first leg.
Whilst City will be without Fernandinho and Otamendi here, they ought to prove too strong once again for Schalke. They should have put the tie straight to bed in the first leg – they had an expected goals return of 1.9 compared to just 0.2 for Schake, who scored with two penalties – and since then they have continued in the same vein.
Chelsea managed to stop the juggernaut in the League Cup final although they did win the trophy overall, and since then they have been the dominant side in three Premier League wins including a 3-1 success over Watford at the weekend.
Man City v Schalke 04
UEFA Champions League Last-16 2nd Leg
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2000)
FEB 2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Schalke 2-3 Manchester United
NOV 2008 UEFA CUP Schalke 0-2 Manchester City
Schalke deserve credit for putting up such a good fight when they had the chance, but they have since lost their last three games, conceding 14 goals in their last four matches, and it would be an achievement if they can still keep on the coat tails of the favourites.
PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 228.96 points
(excluding Premier League ante-post and Six Nations ante-post)