Five talking points ahead of Manchester City v Celtic
Manchester City host Celtic in their final Champions League Group C game on Tuesday.
Here, we look at some City talking points ahead of the match.
DEAD RUBBER GAME
City could either view this game as a luxury because they have already got the job done in terms of qualification or an inconvenience during a busy month. Either way, manager Pep Guardiola is certain to take the chance to rest some of his star men and give minutes to others. With City cemented in second place and Celtic unable to climb off the bottom in the group, the game has no wider relevance.
ROBERTS CHANCE TO IMPRESS
While Guardiola may rotate his squad, and even take a look at some of the youngsters he often includes on the bench in the Champions League, there may be the additional bonus chance to see loanee Patrick Roberts in action. City raised eyebrows when they signed the 19-year-old forward in an £11million deal last year and puzzlement followed when it became clear he was some way off first-team consideration. He has scored three goals this season after joining the Hoops on an 18-month deal in February and plenty of City fans would also be keen to see him in action.
After Saturday’s loss to title rivals Chelsea, the coming weeks are crucial for City as they look to rebuild momentum in the Premier League. They have games against Arsenal and Liverpool before the end of the year. This game offers a chance to get the weekend setback out of the system, particularly if they win well, but they will want to do so without picking up any new injuries.
The chaotic ending to Saturday’s game, which saw players and staff of both sides get involved in a mass brawl, has seen City lose Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho for four and three games respectively. Including a retrospective punishment for Aguero, City have now clocked up six red cards this season and could have a wider disciplinary problem to address.
With Aguero banned domestically, Kelechi Iheanacho looks set for game time in the weeks ahead. Guardiola will have to decide whether it is worth playing Aguero against Celtic, but it could give Iheanacho a chance to play himself into some form before more important Premier League games ahead. One change that seems likely – if the choice of players for pre-match media duties is anything to go by – is Willy Caballero replacing Claudio Bravo in goal.