Best Odds: 3/5
Desperately looking for a response, Manchester City will make the trip Dinamo Zagreb Stadion Maksimir on Wednesday evening.
Starting with the hosts, picking up a 1-0 win over Varaždin last time out and now holding a nine-point buffer on top of the HNL, Dinamo Zagreb is firmly on track to clinch their 21st Croatian domestic crown. While Nenad Bjelica’s men may still hold an outside chance of securing a jolt route out of Group C if they could pull of a massive upset in midweek, they’ve struggled to reach a similar level where they opened their Champions League campaign earlier in the season. Despite launching their European campaign with a thumping 4-0 victory over Atalanta at the Stadion Maksimir back in September, Dinamo has failed to win any of their other four Group C looks. Including suffering a 2-0 defeat away at the outfit in their last European outing, there isn’t any doubt that Bjelica will be hugely concerned by his side’s problems at the back. Recording just a pair of clean sheets in their last six matches across all competitions, Wednesday’s hosts have also shipped at least two strikes in each of the past four Champions League matchups on the bounce.
Zagreb will still be unable to call upon striker Sandro Kulenovic who stays out with a broken foot.
In terms of the visitors, watching Manchester United pick up local bragging rights as a result of a 2-1 win at the Etihad over the weekend, City find themselves enduring their trickiest run under Pep Guardiola. Winning only one of their past four games across all contests and now sat 14 points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool, the defending champions could also just muster a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in their final Group C appearance. Much like Wednesday’s hosts, a massive portion of the Sky Blues’ continued struggles since launching the brand new campaign have come down to some glaring problems defensively. Still not able to call upon key defender Aymeric Laporte, the former Barcelona boss has seen his side don’t record a clean sheet at any of their previous nine games, a run that stems back to the 26th of October. Despite already securing a knockout spot, it also needs to be noted that Wednesday’s guests have failed to capture a clean sheet at any of their previous three Champions League matches on the bounce.
Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set for a return to the action after missing nearly two weeks with a knee injury.
Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, on the other hand, are still sidelined for some time because of more significant knee ligament issues.
Key Factors to Consider
Manchester City has won only one of their past four matches across all competitions.
The Sky Blues have also failed to capture a clean sheet in any of their last nine matches.
Dinamo Zagreb has seen each of the last four Champions League matches end with both teams finding the net.
When the two sides met back in October, City picked up a 2-0 win.
Zagreb is unbeaten in their last five European matches on home soil.
While City will make the visit to Zagreb as a favorite with the bookmakers, Wednesday’s trip to a foreign land could end up being yet another catchy test. Enduring their most difficult run under Pep Guardiola and coping with a few clear defensive issues, Dinamo’s European record on home soil has remained a constant over the last two years. In a matchup that should produce loads of opportunities for two leaky defenses, we’re backing both teams to get the net in midweek.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 3/5