Tonight, is a big night in regards of Champions League football for both of the Premier Leagues Manchester based sides, as Manchester City welcome Shakhtar Donetsk to the Etihad stadium and rivals Manchester United travel to Turin to face a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Juventus side before both sides meet in the first of this years Derby games at the weekend.
For City, who are currently top of Group F, a point above Lyon in second spot and should they replicate their 3-0 win over the Ukrainians two weeks ago as a win in conjunction with a Hoffenhiem defeat to Lyon would secure qualification to the knock out stage with two games remaining. However, City boss Pep Guardiola is warning his players to treat the game as the final, speaking before the game he told the BBC
“Every game is important, and you have to evaluate,” he said. Shakhtar is the most important because it's the first one. After dropping points against Lyon every game is a final.
“We have a chance to step into next round, then we have three or four days to think about Manchester United [on Sunday].”
After hammering Southampton 6-1 at the weekend Guardiola has seen his side boosted by the return of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and defender Nicolas Otamendi who have both been given the all clear after recovering from their individual injuries. That means only Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne (pictured) and Eliaquim Mangala are the only members of the squad unavailable.
For United they do have a number of injury concerns before their match in the Allianz Stadium, as news comes that Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku has not travelled with the side. The 25 year old has had a poor run of form recently with only four goals in United’s opening 14 games he found himself dropped to the bench ahead of their recent win at Everton, before missing out completely at the weekend.
Speaking before the game United boss Jose Mourinho confirmed the status of his star striker
“He's injured for tomorrow, I'm not sure for Sunday,” United manager said when questioned.
On a more positive note their could be a return for right back Antonio Valencia who has missed the last month of football after under going surgery to his mouth.
For the home side they will welcome Mario Mandzukic back into the side after he missed their weekend victory over Cagliari, While head coach Massimiliano Allegri has gone on record as he may unleash a three- pronged attack on united tonight in the form of Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado and former United and real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has his side look to seal their qualification into the knock out stages.
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