For all their brilliance and their English Premier League titles, Manchester City still haven’t quite brought their best football to the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola and co will be hoping that the 2019/20 campaign brings about an end to their European trophy drought, and they have at least been given a boost by being drawn in what is a pretty straightforward group.
That will see them take on Italian surprise package Atalanta, Dinamo Zagreb and their opponents in this first gameweek, Shakhtar Donetsk.
City will travel to the Ukraine on September 18 for their opening Group C tie, and ordinarily it’s the kind of trip that teams like to avoid in European football.
But Guardiola’s side really took a liking to Shakhtar in last season’s competition after again being paired with them in the group phase. The Manchester outfit won 3-0 in Kharkiv courtesy of goals from David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva, and just a fortnight later they demolished the Ukrainian outfit 6-0 on home soil as Gabriel Jesus (x3), D. Silva, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez ran riot.
Both Manchester City and Shakhtar have started the 2019/20 season well, so can the hosts here make this game more competitive than 12 months ago, or will City once again prove dominant?
You can read our thoughts in the rest of this Shakhtar vs Manchester City preview.
1. Shakhtar vs Manchester City Betting Odds
Perhaps with one eye on last season’s 9-0 aggregate carnage, the bookmakers are firmly in the visitors’ camp with their Shakhtar vs Manchester City Betting Odds.
The bookies make City as short as 1.30 to win this game, and give the evidence of last term with good reason. The draw can be backed at 5.50, and underdog hunters can throw their weight behind the hosts at odds of 9.50.
2. Shakhtar vs Manchester City Betting Tips
In making our Shakhtar vs Manchester City predictions, we take last season’s encounters into consideration but also reflect on the historical advantage that teams in Eastern Europe have had when hosting Champions League ties.
Shakhtar’s record in their last ten home games in this competition reads W6 D2 L2, and in that spell they have only been beaten by City and Real Madrid.
The Ukrainians have defeated the likes of Roma, Napoli and Feyenoord in that run, as well as Manchester City interestingly – however that was a ‘dead rubber’ in December 2017 when City had already qualified for the knockout phase.
But on the whole, the takeaway point is that Shakhtar have historically been very good on home soil in the Champions League.
You know what you’re getting from teams from this part of the whole world. Defensively solid, the bottom line from any Eastern European side is to keep a clean sheet.
If you can build on that at the other end, then happy days. The likes of Taison, Marlos and Junior Moraes are interesting talents, while the excellent Yevhen Konopylanka has returned to his home country after a spell at Schalke.
Ordinarily, we would have mitigated all of the above by signing that, even so, Manchester City operate on a higher level and so won’t have any problems seeing off Shakhtar even accounting for their strength on their home patch.
But City have defensive issues, make no mistake. Aymeric Laporte injured his knee so badly against Brighton that he had to have immediate surgery, and that will keep him sidelined for the next few months.
And don’t forget that Guardiola let Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala leave the club at the end of the last season.
So, that will place a heavy emphasis on John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi – not an elite-level central defensive partnership by any means, and the manager may have to reinvent Fernandinho as a centre back or change his formation to a more conservative 3-4-3 style set-up.
Those are all things that play into the home team’s hands here, and while the bottom line is simple – we expect Manchester City to win this game – our actual bets will come from a different angle.
Bettors are always advised to take a look at the handicap markets in these situations, and this is where our Shakhtar vs Manchester City betting tips lie.
We can accept that City will probably win, but also have a wager that allows us to support the notion that Shakhtar can perform better than the bookmakers believe.
Consequently, we will be backing Shakhtar with a +2 handicap here at odds of 1.95. Even if they lose by a single goal, out bet still scores.
3. Shakhtar vs Manchester City Live Stream
When you got your Shakhtar vs Manchester City predictions right you can start looking for website that will live stream this match.
Register at 1XBET, who has a really good live streaming offer and usually they also broadcast this kind of matches, so we hope that this time is no different and they will solve your Champions League live streaming problem.