Manchester City will look to produce another five-star performance when they battle Club Bruges in the Champions League on Wednesday in Group A. Pep Guardiola’s men eased to a 5-1 win when the sides met in Belgium on matchday four, but the Citizens are not exactly on cloud nine heading into this clash as they lost their league game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Facing a side that had held Paris Saint-Germain to a draw and defeated RB Leipzig may have led to some concern within the City camp, but Guardiola’s side showed their dominance in Europe with a crushing 5-1 win over Club Bruges last month. Manchester City have an impressive record against Club Bruges and have won the only game played between the two teams. Club Bruges have never defeated Manchester City and will want to create history on Wednesday.
Manchester City have scored 11 goals in only three games in the Champions League and scored five past Club Bruges on matchday three. City are always a threat to the opposition defenses when they move forward into the final third. City have a high xG from the centre of the pitch and have attempted most of their shots from this region.
The above viz shows us the xT creation zones for City from their clash against Bruges last time out. City created most of their chances from the right flank, and most of their defenders had a very high xT as they had the freedom to play higher up the pitch and put in passes behind the Bruges defense. Joao Cancelo was again the biggest threat as he had the highest xT from his crosses. City will look to replicate the performance they put out against Bruges and secure a spot in the top two in Group A.
Philippe Clement’s side won their encounter with Sint-Truiden at the weekend, as 32-year-old Bas Dost netted the opener after 40 seconds before repeating the trick in the second half in a 2-1 success. Brugge have a five-game unbeaten run away from home in all competitions ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium, but they have also conceded in each of their last four on the road.
Hans Vanaken was Bruges’ best player against City on matchday three and also got the only goal for the Belgian side. He had a high xT from his passes and was able to find pockets of spaces in the City’s defense. City’s defense won’t be troubled if Bruges sit back and try to play on the counter, they will have to press them higher up the pitch and force them into making mistakes which can lead to a goalscoring chance for the Belgian side.
Despite putting in brave performances against PSG and Leipzig and coming away with a respectable four points from three games, it will be a tough task for Bruges to win over this City side. However, the Belgian side have done remarkably well to hold their place in a group that many expected them to finish last in, and with Leipzig yet to claim a point in Europe this term, Bruges are guaranteed to sit in the top three by the end of matchday four.
City are at the risk of losing three games in a row across all competitions, something they have not done since April 2018. They remain in the top two of Champions League Group A behind PSG, although if Bruges win this fixture, they will overtake Guardiola’s men to grab second place in the group.