By Niall Clarke
- Manchester City host Sevilla in the champions league
- Manchester United travel to CSKA Moscow
- Both teams are on three points after two games
Manchester will take centre stage in Europe tonight as Manchester City and Manchester United face tough Champions League tests.
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Not even Back to the Future predicted the rise of the Citizens in recent years. A ton of Investment and plenty of signings mean City are sitting pretty as one of the elite clubs in English football.
But no amount of money has prepared them for what was to come at European level. City have failed to make it past the round of 16 in the Champions League, often failing at the group stages. Even Marty McFly did not see that one coming.
This campaign did not start at the required speed. It was 40MPH rather than 88. They were out-witted by Juventus in match-day one, but they soon re-focused to grab a crucial away win at Borussia Monchengladbach.
The match winner on that day, albeit from the penalty spot, will not to be available to welcome the opposition he knows too well from his time at Atletico Madrid. Sergio Aguero is still out of action, as is David Silva.
Manuel Pellegrini will therefore turn to Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne to fill the void, such as they did on Saturday in the 5-1 win at Bournemouth. The £49 million signing from Liverpool looked his worth at the weekend, bagging a hat trick.
Sevilla will provide a bigger test than the Premier League new boys, but their form is nothing to shout about either. Two wins out of eight in La Liga is akin to Chelsea’s domestic form.
The Europa League champions however, have often brought their best when forced to travel the continent. Like City they sit on three points with a win against Gladbach and loss against Juventus.
But poor league form is not going to allow Pellegrini to take the Spaniard’s lightly. He knows how good they are from his time as Malaga coach, and insists we will see ‘”The real Sevilla” when they travel to Manchester.
“Maybe everyone thought Sevilla would be better,” said Pellegrini in his pre match press conference. (Source: BBC SPORT)
“I spoke with the players, we are sure we will play against the real Sevilla – it’s different to the domestic league.
“I’m sure we’ll see them qualify for the next Champions League.”
United to not rest any players in CSKA clash
The Manchester clubs will do battle this weekend, but United manager Louis Van Gaal insists he will not rest any players. His side travel to Moscow on Wednesday to face CSKA ahead of the derby on Sunday.
The Russians are not amongst the European elite, but they offer a difficult away day for anyone- United’s noisy neighbours found that out last season. City drew 2-2 at the Arena Khimki last season and even lost to the Russians back at home.
The long travel to the Russian capital can be tiresome, and CSKA are in good form. They lead the Russian premier league by five points and defeated PSV in their last European game. Their main threat comes in the form of Seydou Doumbia who has netted seven goals in as many matches.
The Red Devils will be without winger Ashley Young who has been ruled out with a calf injury. Sergio Romero and Antonio Valencia return to the squad.
Manchester United and Manchester City kick off at 19:45 BST Wednesday evening.
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