Champions League preview: Manchester City v Villarreal

City take on Villarreal in real need of a victory to kickstart their Champions League campaign. The good news is that the Spaniards look the weakest team in the group, and have players missing through injury.

They don’t appear to be of the same calibre as Napoli and City, with the likes of Aguero and Silva back in the side, should claim the win. Of course European games are harder to predict than domestic fixtures. City’s travails in the Europa League are testimony to that.

The obvious threat is United old boy Giuseppe Rossi, who bagged 32 goals last season. The Italian has a powerful shot and Joe Hart will need to be on his toes.

With Balotelli suspended and others having had a rest after their international exertions, Mancini is likely to revert to the attacking quartet of Silva, Aguero, Nasri and Dzeko. That could mean a return to the bench for Johnson, Milner and Barry.

It will be interesting to see if the manager changes any of the defence. With the upcoming derby in mind, Mancini may want to rotate a couple to keep a degree of freshness for Sunday. Kolarov and Zabelata will be raring to go after missing out at the weekend. After the debacle in Munich it would be a surprise to see Kolo starting however.

The ideal scenario will see City score early, kill the game, then play keep-ball for the final 20 minutes as we did against Villa. Whether Villarreal will be so accommodating is another question.

Blue Days line-up:
Zabaleta – Kompany – Lescott – Kolarov
de Jong – Y Toure
Silva – Aguero – Nasri

Prediction: 3-0 to City.

Verdict: Manchester City 4 Aston Villa 1
Champions League player ratings: Manchester City v Villarreal

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