Looking further ahead, how big a blow to City's Champions League prospects is having to play the 2ndleg of their tie against Real Madrid at a neutral venue in Lisbon?
Giving away home advantage definitely gives Real Madrid more of an advantage than they would have had coming back to the Etihad. City will miss out on the familiarity of the Etihad, they know ever blade of grass and where every bounce of the ball will be. All that being said, City have a squad crammed full of world class internationals so they should be able to adapt and perform in any environment for me.
If City manage to progress, would neutral venue, one off-games in the final 8 of the tournament actually favour City given the big game experience held by a lot of their squad? The likes of Aguero, De Bruyne and Gundogan have played on the biggest stages for their countries for example
Those players have played in all the major stadiums – they have played all over the world. City with their quality, will be more than capable of that.
How real is the risk of City losing some of their top stars if their two-year ban from European competition is upheld?
If the ban is upheld, it will really come down to the number of years each individual has left on their contract. If a player has 3 years left, they may well hang around as they’ll realise they can challenge in the third season.
If a player has two years left, a player might assess the situation and make their own decisions. You’d like to think the calibre of the manager, the calibre of the facilities will help City retain their talent. Whether in Europe or not, players at City know they will always have a good chance to win domestic trophies.
Some of the players who are saying ‘they will wait and see’ and probably just keeping their options open and may be factoring this into their contract negotiations