A point against Olympiacos on Wednesday evening would see Manchester City become the second English side to qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
City have won all three group stage games this season as they travel to Greece to face an Olympiacos side who sit third in Group C, three points behind Porto and six points behind group leaders Man City.
Qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition with two games to spare would give Pep Guardiola the opportunity to rest players as we head into the busy winter schedule for Premier League clubs.
“It is important for our qualification and also to recover our feelings. To be able to win games is important. We can leave this competition until February and focus on other competitions, especially the Premier League.
“At the same time, we know how difficult it is and if we are able to get results, we travel to Porto and then have Marseille here. One step at a time but at the same time to recover, to come back and create good feelings.”
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On a positive note, for City, everyone in the squad but Nathan Ake is currently fit and the competition within the squad will be restored according to Guardiola.
“The players have to know – and they know it – that it depends on their performances on the pitch whether they can play regularly.
“When you have 16 out with injuries or COVID from the beginning of the season like we have in different periods – not altogether but 16 different guys being out – it is more difficult to have the competition between themselves. That is the key when you play top teams in all competitions.
“Now we have it and they have to know that if they play well, they can continue and if they don’t then they have the chance to be replaced. It is important to have everyone and that is what we are looking for.”
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A player who has made an immediate impact at the club is Ferran Torres who has already established himself in the starting line-up for City, a tough ask for a 20-year-old in his first season in English football.
While the Spaniard has yet to net in the Premier League, he’s scored four goals in all competitions as well as scoring in every Champions League game this season.
The winger also made his name on the international stage with a hat-trick against Germany in a 6-0 rout during the last international break.
Guardiola spoke highly of Torres in the pre-match press conference.
“I am more than satisfied with his performance on the pitch but especially in the locker room. He is a humble and shy guy, loved by everyone. He is generous and young, so he didn’t come with a lot of prestige, so he has remained as we knew he was, and we are more than delighted on and off the pitch.”
Despite losing to Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, I feel City will hit back in Europe with a 3-0 win over Olympiacos.
Odds on a City away win open at -350. Odds on Olympiacos getting their first win in Europe open at +900. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +475.
Fasika’s Prediction: Olympiacos 0, Manchester City 3