THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE is back with a bang on Tuesday night as Manchester City travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk. Ross Casey (@RossCasey24) shares his betting thoughts.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City | Tuesday 23rd October 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
After a shock defeat at home to Lyon on matchday one, Manchester City picked up a very important last gasp win in Hoffenheim last time out. That saw the Citizens record their first points of this season's competition and they will be eager to kick on from that success.
City have been installed as the 19/50 favourites with Marathon and that is sure to prove popular amongst punters.
However, the loss to Lyon and a slim victory in Germany so far is proof that Pep Guardiola's group are yet to produce their domestic dominance in Europe and Shakhtar can take plenty of confidence from that, as well as the fact they won this fixture 2-1 last season.
The Ukrainian side are a best price of 7/1 across a multitude of bookies to pick up another win against the Citizens in this one.
The hosts have picked up two points so far with two 2-2 draws, which is quite interesting as no side has either scored more or conceded more than them in this group.
With that in mind you have to be looking at Both Teams To Score, which has landed of course in both of their previous Champions League games and in three of their last four across all competitions. However, 7/10 looks a little short, for me.
Taison and Marlos are missing for Shakhtar – probably the most important elements of the team, whilst Ismaily’s eligibility is also in question.
A Man City win here is massively expected by the bookies – but Shakhtar are undefeated in each of their seven home matches against English sides in European competition.
Despite the scary fact that no English side has won away to Shakhtar and Man City are struggling to match their domestic form in Europe, I do think that they can finally be the team to pull off the victory here.
The fact they have struggled so far in this competition gives me more of a feeling that the players and specifically Pep will be up for the challenge and odds on City to win and Both Teams To Score appeal to me at 8/5 (BetStars).
Shakhtar have scored at least twice in each of their last seven home Champions League games, whilst Man City have only failed to score in one of their last 15 Champions League group stage games.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is unavailable because of a hamstring problem and Brazilian full-back Danilo is also sidelined having injured an ankle on international duty – but Kyle Walker is given every chance to return from his injury worries.
The betting angle
I think that potentially Shakhtar missing their three most influential players is going to swing my bet away from City to win and Both Teams To Score to an even more positive one for City fans and the visitors' to win ‘to nil'.
Paulo Fonseca has said his Shakhtar team won't change their style of play despite missing their creative sparks, “We focus on not changing our principles. We always try to play in the same way against any opponent, regardless of whether we are meeting with Manchester City or another club.”
However, they have netted just twice in their last two matches and City can hold firm.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City – Man City to win ‘to nil' (7/4 BetVictor)