With his team sitting pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will turn his attention to the Champions League this week, with Villarreal the visitors to the Etihad Stadium this evening.
City went top of the tree with a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa at the weekend but they are yet to register a win in their maiden season in Europe’s premier club competition – with a home point against Napoli preceding the recent defeat at Bayern Munich.
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However, with confidence sky-high and the team finding the net for fun, Mancini’s men will see the visit of the Spaniards as a perfect opportunity to bag their first Champions League success.
Villarreal, on the other hand, have scored just 10 goals to City’s 32 in all competitions so far this season and they are currently on a run of four matches without a victory.
In team news, with star stiker Sergio Aguero still out with a groin injury and Carlos Tevez training in isolation, in-form Mario Balotelli is likely to keep his place in the Manchester City line-up alongside Edin Dzeko.
Villarreal are without striker Nilmar for the long term after the Brazilian underwent an operation on a cyst in his right knee recently. And with Marco Ruben also a serious doubt for the contest, Giuseppe Rossi is likely to start on his own in attack.
Borja Valero, who returns from suspension after missing the first two matches, is likely to be used in a role just behind former United player Rossi – who is sure to receive an ‘interesting’ reception on his return to Manchester.
The two clubs have never faced each other in a competitive or non-competitive match but City go into the encounter as overwhelming favourites and anything other than a home success would be a surprise in tonight’s 19:45 kick-off.