Manchester City starts title defense

Manchester City starts title defense

Manchester City starts their 2023-24 Champions League campaign with a match against Red Star Belgrade, with aims of defending their title. Man City are the the title holders for the Champions League, making them hungry for a strong start. This is already the 13th qualification of Man City in the Champions League, their 13-straight appearance in the contest as well. As for Red Star, this is their 12th appearance in the Champions League, which is why they are familiar with the contest. Moreover, this is Red Star‘s sixth-straight appearance in the Champions League, failing to qualify during the 2017-18 season. However, this is the first time that these two teams are meeting each other in their history. Their first meeting is on September 20, 2023, at 3:00 AM (GMT+8), as Man City play as hosts.

Manchester City

Champions League: Manchester City
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Man City is looking for a chance to start strong in the Champions League as they aim to show the same intensity from last season. Fortunately, they have a good momentum coming into this match as they are from a comeback win in the Premier League. They had a 3-1 win against West Ham United over the weekend, which gives them the confidence here. Despite being down by one goal in the first half, Man City were able to score a goal, equalizing the game. It was Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez, and Erling Haaland who scored for Man City. Moreover, when it comes to the Champions League, Man City are perfect last season, winning all their games. This is the record they are aiming to repeat as they start a new campaign, for a better chance in the title.

Kevin De Bruyne remains to be unavailable for Man City, as he is still nursing his long-term injury. Moreover, Mateo Kovacic, Jack Grealish, and John Stones are all doubtful in this game, so there might be minimal changes in their squad.

Red Star Belgrade

Champions League: Red Star Belgrade
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Red Star is struggling recently in their previous matches, despite having a strong start in their campaign. Their shaky results are what they do not want to bring as they start their campaign in the Champions League. In fact, from their last three matches, they lost to two, which is not a good result for a team aiming for a positive start in the Champions League. This is after Red Star had a four successive victories in their campaign. Before this match, this team is from a 2-1 loss against FK Cukaricki, which does not give them the confidence here. In order to win against a champion team like Man City, they need to address their issues to stand a chance. In their last three matches, Red Star actually conceded six goals, which is not helpful with their aims of a win here.

Fortunately for Red Star, they will have a complete and healthy line-up coming into this game. Their healthy squad will work for their advantage, especially that they are against a powerful team.

Prediction:

Manchester City (3.0)
Odds: -0.88

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