Manchester City - Ajax Preview: Mancini's men playing to keep Champions League hopes alive
Failure to beat the Dutch outfit on Tuesday would all but eliminate the English champions at the group stage of Europe's top competition for a second consecutive season
By Oliver Platt
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Yaya Toure, Barry
Nasri, Tevez, Balotelli
Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind
Schone, Poulsen, De Jong
Sana, Eriksen, Babel
Manchester City are missing Micah Richards (knee) and Maicon (ankle) at right-back, but Pablo Zabaleta returned to the bench against West Ham and could start here ahead of Kolo Toure.
Roberto Mancini confirmed that James Milner (hamstring) is unlikely to play while Joleon Lescott (back) will also miss out. Javi Garcia is back in contention but David Silva and Jack Rodwell (both hamstring) continue to be sidelined.
Ajax could name the same team that beat City 3-1 in the reverse fixture in Amsterdam. Playmaker Christian Eriksen looks set to continue as an unorthodox centre forward between Tobias Sana and Ryan Babel.
Niklas Moisander missed the 2-0 defeat against Vitesse due to suspension but should take his place back in central defence for this fixture.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City have collected just one point from their opening three group stage matches and trail leaders Borussia Dortmund by six points with three matches to play.
- City will travel to Germany to face Jurgen Klopp's early pace-setters but have the benefit of home fixtures against Ajax and Real Madrid.
- Sergio Aguero has taken the joint-seventh most shots on target in the group stage so far, having hit the target seven times. Manchester United winger Nani has equalled that mark, while Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way on 16 shots.
Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany have collected two yellow cards each in the opening three games and will face a one-match suspension if they are booked again.
- Ajax collected eight points from a group containing Real Madrid, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb last season but crashed out into the Europa League on goal difference.
- Frank de Boer's team exited that competition at the hands of Manchester United despite beating the Red Devils in the second leg at Old Trafford.
Finland defender Niklas Moisander (pictured right) is Ajax's top scorer in the competition so far, having bagged goals against both City and Real Madrid.
- Ajax currently sit fifth in the Dutch Eredivisie, nine points behind leaders PSV. They suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Vitesse on Saturday.
Top 3 Predictions
Manchester City 3-1 Ajax
- 14.31 %
Manchester City 1-2 Ajax
- 12.49 %
Manchester City 2-1 Ajax
- 12.1 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||07-Nov-2012||Manchester City 2 - Ajax 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||25-Oct-2012||Ajax 3 - Manchester City 1|
|09-Mar-2014||Manchester City 1 - Wigan Athletic 2||FA|
|02-Mar-2014||Manchester City 3 - Sunderland 1||CCUP|
|22-Feb-2014||Manchester City 1 - Stoke 0||EPL|
|19-Feb-2014||Manchester City 0 - Barcelona 2||UCL|
|15-Feb-2014||Manchester City 2 - Chelsea FC 0||FA|
|34||Ricardo van Rhijn||Defender|
|10||Siem de Jong||Midfielder|