City likely to offer up chances to Feyenoord
Berghuis can pounce on any mistakes
BT Sport ESPN/Showcase, 7.45pm Wednesday
City have made the short hop to Rotterdam to take on Feyenoord, champions of Holland and proud owners of a home record since last December which reads played 13, won 12, drawn one.
Yet it’s City all the way if odds of 4-9 are your yardstick. But should they be such a warm order – at this early stage of the season and away from home?
Yes, they’re unbeaten this term and packed full of quality. But they were unconvincing for a half against Everton, were cut apart a few times by Liverpool before Sadio Mane’s red card on Saturday and are still flawed.
And should we be ignoring last season’s four awaydays in Europe which produced draws at Celtic and Borussia Monchengladbach and defeats at Barcelona and Monaco?
Possibly, and with Feyenoord riding high at the top of the Eredivisie again after four straight league wins, there are better bets than City, even if they really ought to claim all three points. That, presumably, was also what Manchester United backers thought when they visited The Tub last season in the Europa League, a group match which Feyenoord won 1-0.
City are 8-5 to win to nil although there look to be good grounds for thinking both teams will score, which is an 8-11 chance.
We know about City’s sublime firepower and having alternatives of the class of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva to the frontmen who started against Liverpool has to have Feyenoord fearing a real working over.
But the hosts can hit back with tasty tools of their own even if Nicolai Jorgensen, last season’s 21-goal top scorer, is out with a tweaked hamstring.
It means Michiel Kramer will probably lead the line, flanked by two men in Jean-Paul Boetius and Steven Berghuis who are both in rich scoring nick. Boetius has notched in each of his last three, while Berghuis has managed four in four this season. Bet365 go 16-1 that Berghuis scores first, a tempting price for one of the home side’s forwards who, playing up against either Danilo or Nicolas Otamendi, should be confident of a defensive gift or two somewhere down the line.
We saw from the ease with which Manchester United took apart Ajax in the Europa League final last May that there is definitely a gulf between the best sides in the Premier League and the Eredivisie’s elite.
City, therefore, should win but Feyenoord can give them a game.
S Berghuis first scorer
1pt each-way 16-1 bet365
Last season’s top scorer Nicolai Jorgensen is out with a hamstring injury. Keeper Kenneth Vermeer is also a non-runner.
Vincent Kompany has picked up yet another injury while Yaya Toure has been left in Manchester. Keeper Ederson is a doubt.
City conceded 11 goals in their five Champions League away games last season.
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