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Porto in theory could represent a potential banana skin for Pep Guardiola’s side, though while often reaching the knockout stages in Europe, they can often come undone when taking on the elite.
In fact, the Portuguese outfit have a poor record travelling to English sides and have lost six of seven winless such games since 2009/10, conceding 15 times without finding the net themselves, as the most recent of these saw them downed 2-0 by Liverpool in 2019.
City certainly don’t lack firepower, even if Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne remain sidelined. They’ve bagged 51 goals in their 19 Champions League matches over the past two campaigns, going W13-D3-L3, while at the Etihad alone they’ve won seven of their last eight unbeaten fixtures.
Raheem To Score First
Sergio Aguero is back from injury, while Raheem Sterling has been delivering the goods with four goals from their last three outings as he opened the scoring in each.
In fact, for club or country he’s bagged the first strike in seven of the last eight in which he’s found the net, and looks a better value proposition than his Argentine teammate to draw first blood.
Those forward absentees aren’t the only concerns for Guardiola however, with defenders Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Benjamin Mendy all missing too.
The former was a major loss for them last season, especially in the wake of Vincent Kompany’s departure, though they might feel they’ve turned a corner in that respect with the signing of Ruben Dias.
City kept a clean sheet against Arsenal at the weekend without Laporte, with another summer signing Nathan Ake also looking solid at the back, so given Porto’s record away in England we’d be encouraged to go for the clean sheet.
City are yet to truly make their mark in the final stages in this competition, fluffing their lines against Lyon last term after doing the hard work versus heavyweights Real Madrid, but they’ve been largely excellent in the group stages.
Guardiola’s first season in charge saw them finish second behind Barcelona, but they’ve since topped their group in each of the past three campaigns.
Man City To Win To Nil
Aside from City’s largely dominant performances at the Etihad, Porto also look like a team that can be gotten at on their travels. They’re only W6-D3-L4 on the road since late January, as each of those victories came over teams that finished outside the top six domestically last season.
With that in mind, Man City should have too much quality for their visitors and we’d back them to control proceedings and win to nil.