Venue: De Kuip
Date: 13 September 2017
Referee: Szymon Marciniak
Kick off: 19:45
On the back of a thrilling 5-0 win over Liverpool, Manchester City will open their Champions League campaign with a testing trip to Feyenoord – last season’s Eredivisie champions.
Pep Guardiola’s side underperformed in Europe’s elite competition last season, being knocked out by Monaco in the round of 16, but will be thankful that they have been drawn in one of the more favourable groups this time around.
While Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk and Feyenoord will be difficult opposition for City but, with the additions made to the squad in the summer, the title favourites will also like their chances of progressing to a decent stage of this competition too.
City have been boosted by the news of UEFA’s regulations which mean that Raheem Sterling is available for selection despite receiving a suspension for the amount of yellow cards that he accumulated in last year’s competition. However, skipper Vincent Kompany remains sidelined with a minor calf injury sustained on international duty with Belguim and Yaya Toure has been left out of the squad again.
Feyenoord are without last season’s top goalscorer Nicolai Jørgensen and Ridgeciano Haps when they welcome City, giving an added boost to Guardiola and his team.
Feyenoord pipped Europa League finalists Ajax to the Eredivisie title last season by one point but led the league for the entire campaign.
From what I have seen of them – the semi-regular Eredivisie game – Tonny Vilhena and Steven Berghuis would appear to be Feyenoord’s biggest attacking threats. Both could prove to be a threat, but more so Vilhena because of City’s physical defensive which Berghuis may struggle to break through.
This should, no doubt, be the easiest of the three teams that City face in their quest to make it into the knockout stages but by no means should Feyenoord be underestimated and the atmosphere that their fans create must not be allowed to intimidate City’s players.
This is a difficult one because nobody knows how much rotation there will be from the game against Liverpool and nobody knows the outcome of the Liverpool game had the visitors not been reduced to ten men.
Prior to that game, City had not been particularly impressive but that should have given them a massive confidence boost. I’ll go for a reasonably comfortable away win but I don’t expect a stellar performance to come with it.
City to win 2-0. An opener from John Stones and a first City goal for Bernardo Silva.