UEFA Champions League

Man City v Crvena Zvezda: Back a routine night for the Citizens

Man City manager Pep Guardiola
City are the favourites to defend their CL crown

Manchester City begin the defence of their Champions League title with a home clash against Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is expecting a routine Citizens success on Tuesday night.

Man City v Crvena Zvezda
Monday, 20:00
Live on TNT Sports

After clinching a historic treble last season, Manchester City have made a 100% start to the Premier League with Saturday's 3-1 success at West Ham the Citizens fifth triumph from five.

Despite a plethora of golden first-half opportunities, Pep Guardiola's group were unable to find a way past the Hammers rearguard before the break. But City wasted little time in restoring parity after the half-time whistle with Jeremy Doku notching just 43 seconds after the restart. The Citizens pressure then told with two goals in the final 15 minutes.

John Stones and Jack Grealish were again absent for Man City with Mateo Kovacic also missing out, joining Kevin de Bruyne on the sidelines. The former trio are expected to be in Guardiola's squad this midweek as the defending Champions League winners begin their campaign as ultra-strong 1.081/12 favourites against Crvena Zvezda.

Crvena Zvezda 48.0047/1 were European champions in 1991 - the last team from Eastern Europe to claim the continent's biggest prize - and the Serbians excelled domestically last term, remaining unbeaten through 37 league outings (W30-D7-L0), wrapping up league honours six weeks before the campaign conclusion.

New Israeli boss Barak Bakhar saw two key components of Red Star's backline depart this summer with goalkeeper Milan Borjan and centre-back Strahinja Erakovic moving on with the visitors' main threat likely to reside around right winger Osman Bukari, as well as new Ivorian hitman Jean-Phillipe Krasso after an eye-catching spell in France's second-tier.

City set for a stroll

Manchester City remained unbeaten through their 2022/23 Champions League winning campaign (W8-D5-L0) and the Citizens boast a phenomenal W24-D2-L1 return in continental club clashes at their Etihad base over the past five years. That includes victories by two goals or more in 10 of 14 group-stage home games, scoring 3+ goals on 11 occasions.

Crvena Zvezda have failed to score in each of their last four matches in this competition, have been beaten in each of their last six UCL away days - scoring only twice and shipping 22 strikes - with the visitors going down heavily to Premier League opposition on two occasions during that same sample (4-0 to Liverpool in 2018 and 5-0 to Spurs in 2019).

With that in-mind, the Bet Builder offers an appealing angle for the lobsided encounter with Manchester City -1 Handicap and Both Teams To Score 'No' holding plenty of appeal at 17/20 on the Sportsbook. This wager will pay should the Citizens run out victors by two goals or more, whilst keeping a clean sheet in front of their Etihad supporters.

Back Man City (-1) & BTTS - No @ 17/20

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Mark's 2023/24 Profit/Loss

Staked: 13 pts

Returned: 19.07 pts

P/L: +6.07 pts

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