Ajax - Manchester City Preview: Both teams looking for first Group Stage win
Roberto Mancini's side have taken one point from their opening two games, and will be hoping to add another three in Amsterdam against Frank de Boer's winless squad
By Joe Doyle
Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind
Sana, De Jong, Boerrigter
Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Milner, Yaya Toure, Barry, Nasri
There are no fresh injury worries for Ajax boss Frank de Boer following the 3-3 draw away to Heracles on Saturday, so unless he feels the need to change personnel, he could be set to name an unchanged lineup.
For Roberto Mancini, David Silva (hamstring) looks set to miss out. A possible return had been mooted for the game, and he could make the bench, but a more likely return for the Spaniard would be the weekend clash with Swansea.
Elsewhere, Javi Garcia (thigh) and Maicon (ankle) will also probably miss out, despite stepping up their exertions in training in the past week, while Jack Rodwell's hamstring injury, sustained on international duty, makes him unavailable.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City had 15 players away on duty for their countries in the international break, compared to Ajax's six.
- Gareth Barry (pictured) and James Milner were part of an Aston Villa side that beat Ajax 2-1 in England almost four years ago to the day in the Uefa Cup group stages, with Barry scoring the winner. Gareth Barry is 185/1 with William Hill to score the last goal in a 2-1 win for Manchester City.
- Roberto Mancini's side have lost three of their four away games in the Champions League, having been in the competition the past two years.
- The two clubs have never met in a competitive game.
- Ajax's last victory over English opposition at home was in 1980 against Nottingham Forest, though they did beat City's rivals United at Old Trafford last season.
- The two bosses have faced each other before as players, with Mancini coming on as a sub in Italy's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in 1990 - the game where Frank de Boer made his international debut.
- Denis Bergkamp, the current Ajax assistant manager and former Arsenal striker, faced City nine times as a player, winning every game.
- Christian Eriksen has run the furthest of any player in the Champions League group stages, clocking up 26.075 kilometres.
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Top 3 Predictions
Ajax 1-3 Manchester City FC
- 18.19 %
Ajax 1-2 Manchester City FC
- 14.37 %
Ajax 0-2 Manchester City FC
- 10.37 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2012||Manchester City FC 2 - Ajax 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 24, 2012||Ajax 3 - Manchester City FC 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Ajax 4 - NAC 0||NED1|
|Dec 1, 2013||ADO Den Haag 0 - Ajax 4||NED1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Ajax 2 - FC Barcelona 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Ajax 3 - Heracles Almelo 0||NED1|
|Nov 10, 2013||NEC 0 - Ajax 3||NED1|
|34||Ricardo van Rhijn||Defender|
|10||Siem de Jong||Midfielder|
The midfielder has been one of the hottest properties in Europe in recent years, but is yet to move away from Amsterdam, and will be looking to put in a top performance against the English champions. His speed of movement and thought could prove tricky for a City backline that has looked ponderous at times this season.
It will be interesting to see whether Roberto Mancini decides to start the Bosnian striker, who has won his side points recently against both Fulham and West Brom. However, the striker said he wasn't content with a "super-sub" role after his two-goal cameo at the weekend, and will definitely want to make an impact from the start in the Netherlands.
With both teams stuttering in their opening two matches, neither side can really claim to be favourites in certainly the most competitive group in this year's Champions League. However, judging on the hosts' last outing against Real Madrid, City's attacking prowess could be difficult for them to stop.