Man City travel to the Amsterdam Arena to face Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday (7.45pm BST) in good spirits following their weekend win.
Roberto Mancini’s men were looking increasingly likely to end up with a 1-0 loss at West Brom, however it was substitute Edin Dzeko who grabbed both the equaliser and the winner inside the last 10-minutes of the game.
Manchester City saw James Milner red-carded following a mistake from defender Vincent Kompany. Milner was clearly outrun by West Brom’s Shane Long and appeared to have little option other than committing the foul.
We also saw more rotation from Mancini in this game, bringing in Micah Richards and Mario Balotelli. There was sure to be one eye on the Champions League encounter with those decisions.
Carlos Tevez saw a very good chance saved and turned round the post, while Aleksander Kolarov was brought on for the Argentine and performed well as an auxiliary wide attacker.
The result will certainly have Mancini’s squad feeling confident as they travel to Amsterdam. But only one point from their first two Champions League games means this match against Ajax is must-win. And make no mistake about it: Manchester City are more than capable of convincingly beating Ajax.
But Kompany is not looking at his best, Edin Dzeko is struggling for a starting place despite his scoring form this season and David Silva is also sure to miss out.
Sergio Aguero was on the bench against West Brom, meaning the striker is likely to start against Ajax. But Dzeko is really making the point that he should be picked. The Bosnian striker scored the opener against Real Madrid on match day one, and has now scored the winning goal in two of City’s last three league games.
Let’s put a lot of that down to how good Dzeko can be, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that Manchester City have had to battle for the win against Fulham and West Brom.
Ajax are not in the same class as Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund but they are certainly capable of causing City problems if the visitors are not at their best.
But Ajax are pointless and have conceded five while only scoring once themselves. They will also still be without striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.
Ajax’s weekend saw them surrender a lead and only pick up the single point away to Heracles. They opted for Siem De Jong in attack and Ryan Babel dropped to the bench.
Interestingly, Ajax are up against Feyenoord next weekend, meaning most of the resources will be focused on that game. Even with the ambition of European football beyond Christmas, it appears unrealistic that the Dutch champions will get anything from this ‘group of death’ in the Champions League.
It has been suggested that David Silva may be rushed back from injury for this game, but you’ve got to wonder what kind of mental state Manchester City are in if they can’t beat Ajax without the Spaniard in their starting XI.
Ajax v Man City Betting Tips Advice
Real Madrid put four past Ajax in Amsterdam and City should be good enough for a big win as well. Ajax may not be good enough to beat Mancini’s side, but they are capable of taking advantage of a shaky City defence – one which only has the single clean sheet all season.
- Ajax (4/1 to win with Blue Square, Betfred, SkyBet) are sure to carry on in the manner they started this European campaign. The draw is biggest at 31/10 with BetVictor but I only see a Manchester City win, which is a best-priced @ 3/4 with Paddy Power, Boylesports & William Hill.
- Bet on Manchester City to win 3-1 which is 15/1 with BetVictor in the correct score betting market.
- It’s worth backing Edin Dzeko, who is in great form, to score at anytime @ 15/8 with Stan James.