Topping in group
The first for Manchester City on Tuesday night was first in the group.
If they get at least one point from their fifth Champions League game, nothing that happens on the next match day will change attitudes. If they lose on the next scoreline more than their 3-1 win over Porto at home, they will still be in control, but the match in Marseille is important. If they lose worse than 3-1, they will lose control of the group.
With four wins so far and Pep Guardiola warning his players against downgrading, City players have no doubt what to gain from this game – especially next week’s Marseille game after the Old Trafford days.
A piece of Guardiola is the loss of player discipline. There are screams of despair from the touchline whenever a free-kick is given in an unnecessarily dangerous place, and in the past red cards have left some players in the cold longer than the forced suspension.
When the teams clashed at the Etihad in October, City needed to be more careful to keep their cool against an opponent who tried his best to dispute every move. The home side received five yellow cards, while Porto received only one bad character, which includes the level of erroneous refereeing often seen in a match that leads Premier League officials to the best light.
Porto will once again upset the Blues and agitate at every opportunity, and Guardiola is now under pressure to keep his head down as he looks at his stars more closely.
Jesus and Sterling challenged
It’s now three games after Gabriel Jesus’ goalless international break, while Raheem has netted only once in his last eight games for the Sterling Blues.
Sterling was a rare substitute for him to beat Burnley, and the manager named both players after him because he was told to score if he wanted to play regularly.
Manchester City returned to Premier League action this weekend, beating Burnley at Etihad Stadium.
The Blues already have a great record against Claret, and they maintained that record with a 5-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
Rhea Mahrez claimed his first City hat-trick, Benjamin Mendic scored the first goal for the Blues, and Ferran Torres scored again.
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Opportunity for children?
Tommy Doyle and Cole Palmer made their Champions League debuts this season. The pair beat Liverpool 7-2 in the Under-23s on Saturday.
This game would be a more realistic option to see something starting with Marseille, played by Guardiola, down to the idea that many senior players will not give up, but the expectations are that both coaches will put that pressure on them to demonstrate their attitude first into team training and then into youth team games.