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Other SportsRed Star Belgrade v Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch...

Red Star Belgrade v Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Manchester City have already qualified for the knockout stages as group winners after taking maximum points from their five games so far. The 3-2 win at home to RB Leipzig – secured after City were 2-0 down – last time out guaranteed Pep Guardiola’s men top spot.

Red Star Belgrade have struggled, failing to win a single game. They will finish fourth and be eliminated from European competition.

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The wider narrative surrounding the game focuses on City. Their four-game winless run in the Premier League ended on Sunday when they came from behind to win 2-1 at Luton. It wasn’t always convincing, although much improved in the second half, and Guardiola’s team still have questions to answer domestically before they fly off to the Club World Cup.

Red Star are top of the Serbian SuperLiga but that has not stopped speculation surrounding the future of head coach Barak Bakhar who is likely to be sacked during the upcoming Christmas break.

Team News

The beauty of qualifying with a game to spare means Guardiola can rest as many players as he wishes, with Crystal Palace due at the Etihad on Saturday before the squad fly off to Saudi Arabia. When they return from the Middle East, it’s the hectic Christmas period, so expect to see fringe players and reserves on show in Serbia.

Erling Haaland will definitely not travel with the squad due to a foot injury sustained prior to the Luton game while the likes of Kyle Walker, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva are likely to be given the night off.

Red Star have no such worries and will name their strongest possible side for the visit of the European champions.

Expected line-ups

Red Star: Glazer; Nedeljkovic, Dragovic, Djiga, Rodic; Stamenic, Mijailovic; Lucic, Hwang, Ivanic; Bukari

Manchester City: Ortega; Lewis, Stones, Gvardiol, Sergio Gomez; Phillips, Kovacic; Bobb, Matheus Nunes, Grealish; Alvarez

What they said

Red Star coach Barak Bakhar on his team finishing bottom
“The fault lies with all of us. It is a failure that we finished last in the group.”

Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden on the luxury of having already qualified
“It’s such a nice feeling to go into the last game [as group winners].
“We deserve to be in the position we are, so we can enjoy ourselves and not feel any pressure. It’s always nice when you qualify early and the pressure isn’t on in the last game.”

When and how to watch

The game takes place at the Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade, kicking off at 1745 UK time. It can be viewed in the UK on TNT Sports.

Prediction

Red Star are formidable at home in domestic competition. Their 3-1 win against Mladost Lucani means they have gone 122 home league matches without defeat. However, they have yet to win on their own turf in the Champions League, drawing with Young Boys and losing to RB Leipzig. City will be much changed but will still be too good on the night.
Away win!

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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