There’s a potential banana skin clash for Manchester City when the Sky Blues travel to the NSC Olimpiyskiy to face Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of the Champions League knockout round. The home side are in fantastic form and are formidable on home soil, while City have been struggling on the road for some time, and have added pressure following manager Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to rest key players for the fixture.
Could Pellegrini’s big gamble backfire?
The City boss made nine changes to his squad in their 5-1 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup to ensure he could name a strong eleven for their Champions League clash, but the formbook suggests a home win may well be on the cards so his preparations may well be in vain. Dynamo Kyiv are 5/2 to win against Manchester City on Wednesday night, and given their incredible form in their domestic league, City could be in real trouble.
The Ukrainian outfit are coming off the back of five consecutive wins in their domestic league, where they have lost just once at home all season. Kyiv also boast a fantastic defensive record at the NSC Olimpiyskiy too, so City are sure to be given a real challenge on Wednesday night. In Europe, they progressed from a difficult group featuring Chelsea and FC Porto, losing just once for their troubles, so they aren’t going to be fazes against Manuel Pellegrini’s men. And given how often the visitors have lost on the road recently, they should be worried.
Travel-sick City in trouble
Manchester City haven’t managed to get results on the road as consistently as at the Etihad. City lost to Juventus away in the Champions League group stages. They lost away to Everton in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final. And they lost 5-1 away to Chelsea in the FA Cup too. In the Premier League, City have picked up just one win in four, and have only won two away games since September. They will have a strong side out, but their senior squad have struggled for results so far away from home.
Pellegrini will come under intense criticism if his side underperform in the Ukraine given the furore about him making nine changes in their recent FA Cup defeat. He would likely settle for a draw if his side can get an away goal, but Kyiv certainly stand a chance to win on home soil. Despite the Chilean coach planning ahead for their European encounter, City are at real risk of losing the away leg. Are they in trouble?