The Champions League Group Stage comes to an end this week and we are taking a trip to Serbia.
The Final Matchday
Manchester City have won each of the first five Champions League outings of the season, they will now look to make it a super six in Belgrade.
Five From Five
Although from the outside this upcoming fixture is nothing more than a dead rubber, for Manchester City it may just mean a little more. With their domestic blip now seemingly at an end, Pep Guardiola’s men will want to take that burgeoning momentum on the European stage.
With last season’s Champions League winners already having made safe passage into this season’s Round of 16, it would be easy for the Etihad outfit to go down through the gears against their Serbian hosts.
However, City have been approaching something closer to neutral in recent weeks and although they did manage to get the better of Luton at Kenilworth Road on Sunday, even that victory needed them to come from behind.
Six points from the last 15 on offer in the Premier League. 15 from the last 15 on offer in the Champions League and with the latter now preparing for its Christmas hiatus, a busy festive period awaits in the former.
Nothing at stake for the man who oversaw outright European success just six months ago but even with the risk factor being dialed down to zero, this is not a City team that will be looking to simply go through the motions,
Especially as Crvena zvezda would love nothing more than to end their latest set of continental exploits on a high. Like City, there is nothing at stake for them either, only pride can be somewhat restored in a few hours.
The reason that nothing is at stake for Barak Bakhar’s men is because they find themselves bottom of Group G and three points behind Young Boys in third. Although a shock win and a favour from RB Leipzig elsewhere would place third and fourth level, the head-to-head record does not.
After Crvena Zvezda and their Swiss counterparts played out a 2-2 draw in Matchday 2, Young Boys would manage to earn a 2-0 home win at the Wankdorf Stadium in Matchday 5 and in doing so, have secured a parachute into the Europa League.
No joy in this competition but plenty when it comes to the Serbian Super Liga and after getting the better of Mladost Lucani on Saturday, the current league leaders would love nothing more than another win in front of their support.
But now it is time for the first of my two tips and unfortunately for Crvena Zvezda, I do not see the shock being on in Belgrade. Instead, I am opting for a Manchester City win by two clear goals. A winning margin that is currently priced at odds of 10/3.
In addition to this, because there is a sense of end of term, I am going to throw caution to the wind. A feast of attacking football and one that sees City win by four goals to two. This barnburner is priced at a very tasty 33/1.