Tonight sees the blues return to European action as the travel to Greece to face Aris Salonika in the last 32 of the Europa League.
But City face a tough challenge in Greece as their opponents hold the longest unbeaten home run in European competition. After 42 years of European football, the Greeks have not lost a single game but remarkably, the furthest the club have ever progressed in Europe is the third round of UEFA Cup in the 1979/80 season.
City will be favourites to progress to the last 16 of the competition and will hope to do better than the last time they appeared in Europe when Mark Hughes’s side was eliminated by Hamburg at the quarter final stage two years ago.
Striker Mario Balotelli will feature for the first time since December after suffering a knee injury while Michael Johnson (remember him) is also included in the squad. The midfielder has been out since October 2009 with a knee injury and could get his chance to impress Mancini, who will be missing James Milner and Nigel de Jong, who both picked up injuries at the weekend.
Mancini has urged his players to stay positive after Saturday’s loss at Old Trafford. “Now the title is very difficult, but it’s important we think positive. When you play a game like we did at Old Trafford, have control of the game, and have a chance to win but then lose, it is sometimes difficult. That is why it is important we do very well in the next game.”
Team: (from) Hart, Given, Taylor, Richards, Zabaleta, Boateng, K Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Lescott, Wright-Phillips, Vieira, Y Toure, Silva, Barry, Tevez, Dzeko, Balotelli, Jo, M Johnson.
Prediction: Aris 0-1 City
All records have to end at some point and for Aris, it ends tonight as City get over their derby hangover.
For those of us who can’t get to Greece for the tie, the game will be shown live on ITV4 with a 5pm kick off.
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