Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City – Wednesday, December 6, 19:45 BT/20:45 CET – Metalist Oblast Sports Complex, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Matchday 5 of the 2017-18 Champions League saw Manchester City defeat Feyenoord, thus confirming the Citizens as the winners of Group F, while Napoli’s victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Stadio San Paolo allowed the Italians back into the mixture. As things stand, Manchester City has 15 points from five games while Shakhtar Donetsk sit in second with nine points and Napoli in third with six points.
Therefore, the runners-up in Group F are yet to be determined, adding a bit of late drama in this fixture. Napoli will face Feyenoord while Manchester City travel to Ukraine on Match Day 6.
Currently, though Shakhtar lead Napoli by three points, the Italians hold a better goal differential and head to head record. Moreover, it is expected Napoli will defeat the Group F minnows Feyenoord, meaning a Shakhtar loss against City would see the Ukrainians eliminated from the Champions League and dumped into the Europa League.
In football, however, anything is possible. Having defeated Napoli at home, the Miners will believe that they may replicate a similar result against the Citizens, and as the winter break approaches, the Ukrainians will hope to have something to celebrate during the holiday season.
In contrast, it is difficult to predict Manchester City’s approach towards this fixture. On the one hand, the current English Premier League leaders look unstoppable, where the Citizens have scored 61 goals in 22 games in all competitions. In contrast, City has only conceded 14 goals thus far. Moreover, as demonstrated by the substitutions made by Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola in the matches against Feyenoord, Huddersfield Town, Southampton, and West Ham United, he expects a lot out of his players and will not be satisfied with anything other than a victory.
On the other hand, the Citizens have already won the group and are guaranteed a place in the competition’s Round of 16. Thus Manchester City may have its priorities in mind as the English club prepares for its hectic winter schedule, which features ten games in all competitions in 30 days. Notable fixtures include a trip to Manchester United, four days after City’s Champions League match in Ukraine, and a home game against Tottenham Hotspurs on 16 December. Due to these circumstances, it is believed City Manager Guardiola will call upon members of his Champions League B List against Shakhtar, giving the Miners some hope of qualifying for the Round of 16.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City – Players to Watch:
Andriy Pyatov #30 – Shakhtar Donetsk
Not often is a goalkeeper selected as the player to watch, but if Shakhtar has any hope of qualifying for the next stage of this competition, Andriy Pyatov will have to be at his best. Pyatov was Shakhtar’s man of the match when the Ukrainians travelled to Manchester in September. The Ukrainian goalkeeper held the Citizens at bay at halftime. At the restart, he had no chance of stopping the match’s opener, a wonder goal from Kevin de Bruyne in the 48th minute. He did, however, save a Sergio Agüero penalty in the 72nd minute and kept the Miners in the game until Raheem Sterling scored City’s second in the 90th minute, ending Shakhtar’s hope of stealing a point from the Etihad Stadium. Pyatov knows that at least a draw will see his club through to the knock out stages, but if he were to have a howler of a match, similar to his display against Iceland or Northern Ireland for the Ukrainian national team, Shakhtar would surely be eliminated from the competition.
Phil Foden #47 – Manchester City
Should the current Premier League leaders call upon members of its Champions League B List, Foden will undoubtedly be included in this fixture. Having won the FIFA U-17 World Cup with England, where he also won the competition’s Golden Ball award, the young midfielder will have a lot to offer. The youngster recently celebrated his senior debut as a substitute in Manchester City’s home fixture against Feyenoord, where the Citizens won 1-0. With a lot of praise from the top team, he is sure to be glowing with confidence and will want to put on an excellent display for his manager and the travelling Manchester City supporters.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City – Match Stats
- Shakhtar Donetsk’s Darijo Srna remains on a personal hiatus after having been tested positive for a banned substance in September. Meanwhile, Sergey Krivtsov and Maksym Malyshev remained sidelined by injury.
- Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne is suspended for this match while John Stones and Benjamin Mendy are still injured.
- Shakhtar youth academy product Oleksandr Zinchenko, who now plays for Manchester City, is ineligible as he was not registered on either Manchester City squad list at the start of the 2017/18 competition.
- This is the second time in their history where the Miners and Citizens will face one another. The previous encounter was held at the Etihad Stadium in September, where Manchester City won 2-0.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City 1-2
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City – Possible Starting Lineups
Pyatov – Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily – Fred, Stepanenko – Marlos, Taison, Barnard – Ferreyra
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Bravo – Walker, Adarabioyo, Mangala, Danilo – Touré, Gündoğan – Foden, B. Silva, Diaz – Jesus
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Mark Temnycky is a Ukrainian-American who earned a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in June 2017. He is pursuing a career in international relations and foreign policy. Follow Mark on Twitter @MTem33