Manchester City are on the brink of progressing into the next round of the Champions League and will look to do so comfortably against Young Boys.
Pep Guardiola has his Manchester City side in a position he precisely wanted, as the European Champions are on the brink of progression into the next round ahead of the clash with BSC Young Boys. The Catalan would love to use some of his fringe stars and rest essential players in the remaining two games, provided they secure a win in this fixture.
Manchester City have recovered from their substandard form earlier in Rodri’s absence and have been on a winning path once more. At the weekend, they smashed Bournemouth 6-1, which proved Guardiola’s side had returned to their efficient best.
PEP 💬 (On Club World Cup) We have never won it before. We have never been there, you have to win the #UCL… The first game is so tricky… We prepare because for us it is a dream… The players talk in the locker rooms to add to their prestigious careers for something they… pic.twitter.com/nT1TQh78D7
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 6, 2023
It is also an excellent way to enter a pivotal Champions League clash at the Etihad. They played Young Boys in the previous round and came out as resounding winners, courtesy of a Manuel Akanji opener and a brace from Erling Haaland.
For the Swiss outfit, there is still plenty to play for in this group stages, despite their chances of qualifying for the next round being slim. With a draw and no wins in their three games, Young Boys have struggled to get a grip on this group, as they maintained their third-placed spot despite a defeat on the last matchday.
Despite whatever leftover hope there is, Young Boys will not expect to make a late surge in these group stages and mount a challenge to finish in the top two. Their focus will surely be on somehow finishing third and making a dash into the Europa League.
The only concern would be their results from here on, as they are not expected to take anything away from the Etihad on Tuesday. Secondly, Leipzig will likely take three points off them, as the only significant result they must fight for is against Red Star Belgrade.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola will have a large squad of quality players for this Champions League fixtures, with only Kevin De Bruyne a confirmed absentee. Erling Haaland had a fitness concern at the weekend, and there are doubts whether the Manchester City boss will risk his top scorer for this game.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 6, 2023
Hence, Julian Alvarez appears well-placed to lead the line instead of Haaland, as he knows how to perform that role. The move could see Bernardo Silva in the No.10 slot, with Guardiola likely to tweak his system. Rodri and John Stones will feature in the midfield, although the manager might also consider using some of his fringe stars.
As things stand, Guardiola may not take a risk with his fringe stars but rather go with his established options, especially in central midfield, where at least three players are sitting on the bench.
At the back, Guardiola could use Nathan Ake in a central role, while Josko Gvardiol will play as the left-back. Conversely, it could be a partnership between Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker to complete the backline for Manchester City.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol; Stones, Rodri; Foden, Silva, Doku; Alvarez
The visitors only carry minimal injury problems, with only two players likely to miss out on this trip to Manchester City. Kastriot Imeri has joined Lukasz Lakomy on the sidelines. But Raphael Wicky will have his strongest possible squad available for selection for this crucial away clash.
— BSC YOUNG BOYS (@BSC_YB) November 6, 2023
Wicky will likely stick to his guns and continue to field an attacking 4-3-3 setup, irrespective of the threat posed by Manchester City. At the back, he will have Mohamed Ali Camara and Loris Benito in the central defence, with Saidy Janko and Ulisses Garcia in the full-back roles.
Sandro Lauper will sit at the base of their midfield, with Filip Ugrinic and Sheikh Niasse on either side of the three. Up front, there were doubts about the participation of Meschack Elia, but his injury is not too severe, and he remains available to play. He will join Joel Monteiro and Cedric Itten in the front three.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Racioppi; Janko, Camara, Benito, Garcia; Ugrinic, Lauper, Niasse; Monteiro, Itten, Elia
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 27 Champions League home games.
- Manchester City have won each of their last four games in all competitions.
- Manchester City have won their three games in this Champions League group.
- Young Boys are unbeaten in five away games in all competitions, winning three.
- Young Boys managed a draw during their last visit to Manchester when they faced Manchester United.
Player to Watch
What a game at the Etihad! 💥
Great team performance, keep it pushing onto the next 🤫
— Jeremy Doku (@JeremyDoku) November 5, 2023
There is a sense at Manchester City that Jeremy Doku could usurp Jack Grealish’s place for the foreseeable future. However, it has been Pep Guardiola’s tactics over the last many seasons to keep one key player on the periphery of things before unleashing him in the second half of the season.
Earlier, it was Riyad Mahrez, and this season, Grealish has taken on that role. Hence, the entire pressure would fall on Doku to keep performing and give Guardiola no reason to doubt the Belgian’s credentials. Games like this one against Young Boys will make or break the winger’s future this season, with Grealish desperately waiting in the wings to take over.
Manchester City 3-0 Young Boys
The hosts are coming at the back of a smashing 6-1 win, where Pep Guardiola would not have liked his side conceding that consolation goal. Such is the form they are currently hitting, and Young Boys might feel they visited the Etihad at the worst possible period.
Manchester City are the overwhelming favourites to take three points and take a big step into the next round of the Champions League. Young Boys must look to perform well irrespective of the final result, as they still have plenty to play for despite their lowly position in the group.