06 Mar Manchester City v Basel – Talking Points
Manchester City host Basel in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday holding a 4-0 aggregate lead from the first encounter last month.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some talking points ahead of the match.
How will City approach the game?
There may be a temptation to rest players but City boss Pep Guardiola rarely makes wholesale changes, the early rounds of the Carabao Cup perhaps being an exception. Even with a virtually unassailable 4-0 lead, Guardiola is unlikely to want to disrupt the momentum of his side too much. City are not in action again until next Monday’s trip to Stoke, so recovery times are not a concern this week.
Chance for Toure
Guardiola will make a few alterations though, and with Fernandinho injured it may be an opportunity to give veteran Yaya Toure a run-out. The 34-year-old has become a peripheral figure in the City squad and this season is expected to be his last at the club. It is clear he has never really fitted into Guardiola’s philosophy and the team has moved on, but his role in the vast majority of City’s successes in recent years cannot be forgotten. Supporters will want the chance to show their appreciation before the season ends.
Double century for Aguero
City’s crack marksman Sergio Aguero remains one short of his double century of City goals. He scored his 199th in the Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal and has failed to find the net in the two games since. If City find Basel as easy to cut through as they did in Switzerland last month, this could be his night.
Jesus back in action
The game could also provide a chance to give Gabriel Jesus some more game time. The Brazil striker has made late substitute appearances in each of the last three games having recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him for two months. He could get a lengthy run on the field and possibly even start.
Any chance of an upset?
This is highly unlikely. City broke Basel in the first leg when they scored three goals in a blistering nine-minute spell in the first half. They then eased off completely but still managed to find the net again. Even if they offer Basel some encouragement by playing below themselves, they have the power to swiftly kill off any hint of a fightback.