Marseille vs Manchester City preview: Another tough test on the cards for Pep's men
By Matt Hill
27 October 2020, 15:16
Pep Guardiola expects another stern test of Manchester City’s European credentials when they tackle Marseille this evening.
Despite last season’s disappointing quarter-final exit to Lyon, City are once again among the favourites for what would be a maiden Champions League success.
And even though his side made a perfect start by beating Porto 3-1 last week, Guardiola (pictured above) is ready for another gruelling battle in Group C.
He said: "We had an incredibly tough game in the first match and are expecting another one.
"In France it is always difficult because of the physicality they play with, but also the fact that it is a very talented group of players.
"They are well organised, defend the space well and we will need to find a way to try and take control of the game.
"We need to be especially careful with set-pieces as they have possibly one of the best takers in Europe in Dimitri Payet."
City have accumulated a lengthy injury list in recent weeks.
Guardiola, 49, must do without strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus — leaving Raheem Sterling to deputise up front.
Nathan Ake, Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy also miss out but City are boosted by the return of key duo Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne.
Despite those absences, Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas believes his side enter the contest as underdogs.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham manager, 43, said: "It will still be difficult because they have had a lot of investment over the years to reach the squad depth they have.
"Aguero, Jesus and Mendy are on the sidelines but they still have Phil Foden, who came on against West Ham to score, and they also have Ferran Torres — many great options.
"They are a powerhouse made to win this competition."
The hosts sit fourth in Ligue 1 after eight matches and are only three points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, although they did lose their Champions League opener 1-0 away to Olympiacos last week.
Villas-Boas is set to welcome back talismanic midfielder Payet after the ex-West Ham star missed his side's 1-0 win over Lorient last weekend through suspension.
Did you know?
City have only won two of their previous seven Champions League games against French teams and are winless in their last four.
Marseille have picked up just one victory in their last 11 Champions League encounters with English teams.
Payet is still looking for his first goal in the competition. He has attempted 32 shots without scoring.