Tuesday night sees both Manchester clubs face tough opposition in the Champions League as United host Shakhtar whilst City travel to Munich.
Fortunately both sides have already secured their participation in the last 16 and so defeat will not result in disaster. Nonetheless, with the respective poor forms, wins would be very welcome at this stage of the season.
Whatever happens, there’s four top European sides in action and the neutrals should be in for a fascinating night of entertainment.
BAYERN MUNICH V MANCHESTER CITY
Tuesday 10th December. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 2
Manuel Pellegrini takes his Manchester City side to Germany, where they will face reigning Champions Bayern Munich. It will be the ultimate test for the Citizens and their fans will be thankful that their progression has already been sealed.
Having lost 3-1 in the reverse fixture, topping the group will be almost impossible. Nonetheless, City will want to prove that they are capable of competing amongst Europe’s elite and a positive result in Munich would cement their belief that they are finally ready to do some real damage in this competition.
Bayern Aiming For Perfection
Having won the previous five, Bayern will end their Group G campaign with a 100% win ratio should they overcome the challenge of City.
Pep’s side are currently on a sequence of 8 consecutive victories in the competition, last losing to Arsenal in the second-leg of their quarter final – which they still won on aggregate.
If the Germans do win, then they will be the only team in this year’s competition to have won all six group games. A fantastic achievement.
City’s Away Day Troubles To Continue
Despite two away wins in this competition, City’s form on the road this season has been far from impressive and it could be another night of disappointment in Germany.
As if a trip to the Allianz Arena wasn’t already tough enough, City will once again be playing without inspirational captain Vincent Kompany. On the bright side, David Silva should return from injury.
It’s good news for England’s Joe Hart too as he is set to start in goal; a good display against arguably the greatest club side on the planet could be enough to see him reinstated for the weekend’s encounter with Arsenal.
MANCHESTER UNITED V SHAKHTAR DONETSK
Tuesday 10th December. 7:45PM. ITV 1
An already qualified Manchester United head into Tuesday’s clash knowing that avoiding defeat will ensure they finish top of Group A, theoretically setting up an easier tie in the last 16. Perhaps just as importantly, it would also prevent the Red Devils from suffering a third consecutive home defeat.
Against Newcastle, Manchester United looked void of any creative spark and David Moyes will be grateful to see star player Wayne Rooney available once more – particularly as Robin van Persie appears to be lacking match fitness.
Wazza was exceptional in Leverkusen and has been the driving force for his team. Regardless of the situation, you can always rely on the number 10 to put in a decent shift and if United are going to beat the Ukrainians then there’s a strong possibility that it will be down to the individual brilliance of their brightest star.
Moyes needs to avoid the embarrassment of a third Old Trafford loss within a week. However, unlike United, Donetsk are on a run of four straight wins and will be looking to leapfrog the Red Devils with a fifth in Manchester.
A tough fought draw in the Donbass Arena back in October showed that, despite the summer sales of star players Fernandinho and Mkhitaryan, Shakhter are still a very capable team.
The addition of Bernard in particular proves that the Ukrainians are still regarded as a strong team and their domestic form (top, 5 points clear of Dynamo Kiev) also backs this up.
Finishing the group as winners would be a great achievement in Moyes’ first Champions League campaign and you suspect that he’d secretly be happy with a repeat score of October’s reverse fixture.
THE BTTS COUPON – 10th DECEMBER
In addition to eight Champions League matches on Tuesday, there are games played in the Johnstone Paint Trophy and non-league divisions as well as the Scottish FA Cup.
Here are three games from the night’s action that we think will end with both teams scoring. Good luck.
Sky Bet runs a nice free to play Super 6 predictor game every week, which brings you the chance to bag a huge £250,000 jackpot prize.
There’s also a guaranteed prize up for grabs. If the quarter of a million isn’t won, Sky Bet will reward the highest scoring player with a guaranteed £5,000 prize.
Put your football knowledge to the test, or simply just play for fun, as you could be walking away with a huge sportsbook jackpot prize.
That is the situation facing Rugby playing Nations after the mighty All Black rugby team went unbeaten for the entire Rugby Championship and Autumn Rugby internationals. Are they so mighty and if so what makes them so unbeatable.
Saturday 8th December. 12:45PM. BT Sport 1
At Old Trafford, Manchester United manager David Moyes will be desperate to see his side bounce back from Wednesday’s defeat to old club Everton. However, visitors Newcastle have something to say about that as they too hope to recover from a midweek loss.
It should be a very entertaining fixture.
NINE DECLARED FOR THE TINGLE CREEK AFTER DEFECTION OF SPRINTER SACRE
It’s obviously disappointing that Sprinter Sacre has been ruled out of Saturday’s Bet Victor Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. But, despite the absence of jump racing’s hybrid super-horse, it’s still a high quality renewal, with five of the nine declared runners having previously won at Grade 2 level or higher over fences.
One thing not to expect with the Tingle Creek is the unexpected. Subsequent to the 1998 running, which was won by 7/1 shot Direct Route, just one winner of this Grade 1 contest has returned at an SP bigger than 100/30. It’s a race in which the cream consistently rises to the top.