Friday, June 22, 2018

Prediction: Manchester City vs Basel

Verdict: Man City Win and Over 2.5 Goals

Best Odds: 2/5

Bookmakers: William Hill

Manchester City welcome Basel to the Etihad for a game that should prove to be somewhat of an anti-climax given the 4-0 aggregate that the home side carry into this game. The Cityzens were at their destructive best in Switzerland and should easily proceed to the next round, but Basel will certainly want to restore some pride with a positive result in this game.

Manchester City

The champions elect of the Premier League have been utterly dominant this season, scoring 83 times and conceded just 20 goals in their 29 league games. In Europe the Cityzens breezed to the top of their group with 14 goals in their six games, winning five and letting in just five goals. It was little surprise then that Pep Guardiola’s men went on to register a 0-4 away demolition of Basel in the round of 16 first leg tie, putting them all but through to the quarter finals barring a stunning result at the Etihad.

Given their aggregate lead we will likely see a number of changes to this City side for the second leg, but the depth in Guardiola’s squad is what has made his team so formidable this season. Gabriel Jesus could feature after a long spell out injured, and the Brazilian had been in excellent form before his absence, forcing veteran goal scorer Sergio Aguero to watch from the bench. The likes of Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva will also likely play, and with backup options such as those it is difficult to see anything but another big win.

Team News

Pep Guardiola is likely to make a number of changes for this game, but both Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling are unlikely to feature as they are struggling with hamstring and muscle issues respectively. Benjamin Mendy also remains out for the long-term.

Gabriel Jesus could start after returning from injury, giving Sergio Aguero a well-earned rest.

Basel 

The Swiss side navigated their way through a tough group, finishing second behind City’s eternal rivals Manchester United, and seeing off CSKA Moscow and Benfica. With four wins from six, 11 goals scored and just five conceded, Basel looked to be a strong side heading into the round of 16, and they are by no means a bad team at all. They are reigning Swiss Super League champions, regulars in the Champions League, and have an incredibly exciting young striker in Dimitri Oberlin. While they find themselves 0-4 down heading into the second leg, Raphael Wicky’s side looked fairly dangerous on the break in the first leg, and they had their chances to make this a slightly smaller mountain to climb.

Unfortunately their opponents Manchester City have been arguably the best team in Europe this season, and the Swiss side stood little chance against their top tier players and spending power. With the Swiss Super League title looking set to end up in the hands of BSC Young Boys, who currently hold a 14-point lead over Basel, the Champions League is now the competition that can bring fans of the Swiss club the most joy. While overturning the deficit they are faced with could be a task too far, an away win to earn back some pride will certainly be on the players’ minds.

Team News

The Swiss side don’t have many injury issues, but Taulant Xhaka is suspended and thus won’t feature in this clash.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester City have lost just two games across all competitions this season.
  • The Cityzens have also scored an insane 83 goals in 29 Premier League games.
  • Basel have lost six of their last 10 games in all competitions.
  • The Swiss side have also conceded more than one goal in five of those same 10 games.
  • City won the previous meeting between the two sides 0-4.

Conclusion

Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly make a whole host of changes in order to rest some of his key players, but even that shouldn’t prevent Manchester City from steamrolling this Basel side. The likes of Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus should still feature in this game, and it will likely be another high-scoring affair.

Verdict: Man City Win and Over 2.5 Goals

Best Odds: 2/5

Bookmakers: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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