Manchester City may have lost some ground in the Premier League title race of late but when it comes to the Champions League their form goes from strength-to-strength as they welcome lowly Atalanta to the Etihad on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side sit top of Group C having taken a maximum six points from their two games so far, while Atalanta have lost their first two Champions League matches to Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk, leaving them stranded at the bottom of the table.
City suffered their second defeat of the season before the international break with Wolverhampton Wanderers recording a shock 2-0 victory in the Premier League to leave City eight points off leaders Liverpool..
However, Guardiola’s men looked much more like themselves when they recorded a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday evening and a 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Liverpool 24 hours later meant that the gap has now been closed to six points.
City started their 2019-20 European campaign with a 3-0 win at Shakhtar before beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 on home soil earlier this month and it would be a huge surprise if they had any problems when it comes to advancing to the last-16 stage of the Champions League, and probably why they are 1.21* to take all three points here.
The same can’t be said for their opponents however, with the Italian side – whose third-place finish in Serie A last year meant they qualified for the group stages – come to Manchester seeking their first win in the competition.
This will be the first of two back-to-back games between City and Atalanta with the visitors faring better in domestic competition than in Europe so far this season.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are again going well in Serie A having picked-up 17 points from eight matches and currently sitting in third in the table with only Inter Milan and Juventus above them.
And apart from their two defeats in the Champions League Atalanta have a pretty impressive record in European competition having lost just three of their last 16 matches and recording seven wins in the process.
The Italian side will also have fond memories of their last trip to England having thumped Everton 5-1 in the group stages of the 2017-18 Europa League.
City might well be strolling to a first-place finish in the group but it’s all to play for when it comes to the second qualifying spot, so despite Atalanta being down they are certainly not out and will be scrapping to earn any points they can and a draw – currently available at 6.80* – might just be the best they can hope for here.
*Odds subject to change
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