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Preview: Manchester City vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Manchester City and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester City prepare for the weekend's Manchester derby with a Champions League dead rubber against basement side Marseille in Group C.

Pep Guardiola's men are already safely through to the next round, whereas the best that Marseille can hope for is a spot in the Europa League after a dismal run in the group stage.

Match preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Perhaps the only surprising aspect of City's comfortable victory over Fulham was that it was only by two goals on Saturday, with Guardiola's men keeping their fourth clean sheet in succession in a routine win against the strugglers.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring before winning his 20th Premier League penalty - setting a new top-flight record in the process - and Kevin De Bruyne coolly finished from 12 yards to propel City to their third victory in four in all competitions.

While Guardiola's men are finally starting to string a solid set of results together in the top flight, the Premier League giants have not stuttered in Europe and made sure of their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with relative ease.

City's near-impenetrable defence has only been beaten once in the tournament so far - with Porto's Luis Diaz netting in the opening matchweek - and Guardiola's men have since kept four European clean sheets in a row, which puts them level with Chelsea as the team to ship the fewest goals in the 2020-21 Champions League.

Guardiola's men dropped points for the first time in Europe this season last week as Porto held them to a goalless stalemate, but it was the Portuguese side's scathing assessment of their opponents after the game which made all the headlines.

Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas pictured in October 2020© Reuters

In contrast, Marseille's first appearance in the Champions League since the 2013-14 campaign has been underwhelming to say the least, although Andre Villas-Boas's men finally got off the mark in Europe last week against Olympiacos.

A brace of penalties from Dimitri Payet saw Les Olympiens triumph 2-1 on their own turf against the Greek giants, who had initially taken the lead through Mady Camara, with Marseille's win ensuring that third place is still up for grabs.

Marseille and Olympiacos both boast three points from a possible 15 in the group, but the Greek giants - who welcome Porto to Piraeus in their final game - are ahead of Villas-Boas's men on head-to-head away goals scored prior to matchday six.

Les Olympiens have not faltered whatsoever in Ligue 1 despite their continental troubles, with goals from Dario Benedetto and Valere Germain propelling Marseille to a comfortable 2-0 win over Nimes at the weekend - their fifth top-flight victory on the bounce.

Marseille welcomed Manchester City to the Orange Velodrome back in October, and Guardiola's men cruised to a 3-0 win in that one courtesy of goals from Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan and Sterling.

Manchester City Champions League form: WWWWD
Manchester City form (all competitions): DLWWDW

Marseille Champions League form: LLLLW
Marseille form (all competitions): LWLWWW

Team News

The morbidly obese Sergio Aguero pictured on October 24, 2020© Reuters

City only have one injury concern in the form of Sergio Aguero, who remains a major doubt for this one after missing out against Fulham, and no risks will be taken on the Argentine before the weekend's derby with Manchester United.

Guardiola has insisted that he will take this match seriously even with nothing on the line, but there will surely be plenty of rotation from the Spaniard nonetheless, starting with Zack Steffen replacing Ederson in goal.

Kyle Walker missed out entirely against Fulham but could come back here, while the likes of Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Eric Garcia and Fernandinho are all likely to line up from the first whistle.

Marseille's Nemanja Radonjic is still sidelined with a thigh issue, and Villas-Boas has also revealed that Jordan Amavi will be forced to miss out with a muscular problem.

Leonardo Balerdi was suspended for last week's win over Olympiacos but is available here, and the 21-year-old could join Alvaro Gonzalez and Duje Caleta-Car should Villas-Boas opt for a defensive setup.

However, Villas-Boas's back five did not pay dividends in their most recent meeting with City so the Portuguese boss will look to avoid a repeat of that fateful night, which should mean that Florian Thauvin returns to the attack.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Walker, Garcia, Ake, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Silva, Foden, Sterling; Torres

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Sakai, Caleta-Car, Balerdi, Nagatomo; Kamara, Rongier, Cuisance; Thauvin, Benedetto, Payet

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 3-1 Marseille

Marseille have much more to play for in this tie than City do, but the last thing that Guardiola will want to see is his side take the foot off the gas despite having the group already wrapped up. A solid victory here would be a huge confidence boost before their trip to Old Trafford, so we are backing City to round off their group-stage campaign with a win against a Marseille side who have struggled to perform on the big stage.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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