Manchester City will attempt to make it two wins from their first two games in the 2020/21 Champions League when they travel to the Stade Velodrome to take on French giants Marseille.
Pep Guardiola’s side have been in indifferent form domestically, labouring to a 1-1 draw with West Ham at the weekend amid a spate of injuries and various niggles throughout City’s squad.
As for the hosts, they sit just three points off the pace set by PSG in Ligue 1, but did kick off their European campaign with a disappointing 1-0 to Greek champions Olympiacos last time out.
Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas has no real selection concerns for the visit of the four-time Premier League Champions.
The Portuguese manager will look to reintroduce Dimitri Payet to the starting 11 after he missed out on the win at Lorient through suspension, and he could partner up with Dario Benedetto up top – although the 30-year-old is yet to score so far this season.
Former Chelsea manager Villas-Boas may make a tactical tweak too, previously hinting that he may switch to a system using three central defenders in order to cope with the frightening forward options City have at their disposal.
However, those frightening attacking options will likely not include club record scorer Sergio Aguero, who managed just 45 minutes against West Ham before coming off injured. Fellow South American Gabriel Jesus is still unavailable, too.
Returns for Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy aren’t probable until after the international break, but Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte both have a chance of featuring in midweek.
With the absences of Aguero and Jesus, Raheem Sterling could be deployed a false nine, with Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden expected to return to the starting 11 having started on the bench at West Ham.
Marseille are back in the Champions League for the first time since the 2013/14 season, but the Ligue 1 behemoths were quickly reminded of the often cruel nature of Europe’s elite competition when they travelled to Greece for their opener against Olympiacos last week.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side had kept the Greek powerhouses at arm’s length for the regulated 90 before Ahmed Hassan came off the bench to strike an injury-time winner for the hosts.
Nevertheless, Marseille managed to dust themselves off from their European hardship at the weekend as they took all three points from Lorient in Ligue 1, although Villas-Boas would perhaps have rather see his side come away with a slightly more convincing victory than the narrow 1-0 they recorded against struggling for form.
As for City they will travel to France determined to return to winning ways following yet another setback in their last domestic outing.
West Ham have grown a propensity for coming away with points against top teams lately with Wolves, Leicester and Tottenham all unable to outdo David Moyes’s side in recent weeks, and they continued their habit as they battled to a 1-1 draw against a City side with a sizeable injury list to contend with.
The Citizens failed to make it three wins on the spin on Saturday, but opened their Champions League campaign in idyllic fashion with a 3-1 win at home to Porto last week.
Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres all firing home for City as they again had to come from behind against the Portuguese champions.