The Champions League picks up from where it left off in December this evening with two English clubs in action, Tottenham travel to Turin to face Juventus while Manchester City make the trip to St. Jakob Park to face Swiss champions FC Basel.
The Swiss outfit have already faced Manchester based opposition here this season in the shape of United and more importantly came out on top, back in November of last year they got the better of the eventual Group A table toppers thanks to a 1-0 win after Michael Lang’s late winner.
The hope for Raphael Wicky’s men will be that lightning can strike twice in terms of getting the better of their Manchester foes,. the only different of course being that this City side is a much more fearsome prospect as their quest for the quadruple continues.
Manchester City topped their group with 15 points from a possible 18, only defeat in the dead rubber tie away at Shakhtar Donetsk stopped from the being the only club to earn a 100% group stage record, but even with that small blemish in regard to their European exploits this season there is no doubting that they have looked ominous at times.
A statement that is no less accurate on the domestic front, something that was certainly evident on Saturday when they disposed of Leicester at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero rightfully earned all the plaudits after his astonishing four goal haul puts him back in the race for this season’s Premier League golden boot.
Pep Guardiola’s men are now just six wins away from winning this season’s Premier League, something that in turn could boost their Champions League hopes towards the final reaches of the campaign. With the club competing on four fronts you get the feeling that the only thing that could stop them is themselves.
But if they do win the league at a canter as expected then they can then rest key players with the full focus on a European assault and ultimately a bid at winning the club’s first ever Champions League trophy. Obviously though they need to clear this hurdle first without being too disrespectful to Basel.
But at the same time the Swiss side cannot afford to show too much respect to their all-star opponents this evening, they will need to make life difficult for them and in essence copy the exact template that saw them beat the Red Devils last year.
St. Jakob Park is a tight ground and one where the fans are right on top of you, this is something that Basel will look to once again use in their favour as they will be hoping that their 12th man can give them a timely boost during tonight’s clash.
To be honest right now even if Basel had 13 men on the pitch they would struggle to beat Manchester City, that is just the measure of where the latter are. You would be hard pressed to see just who can stop this Sky Blue juggernaut, something that won’t be happening tonight. An away win for me.