Atalanta v Manchester City team news
Manchester City could book their place in the Champions League knockout stages if they maintain their 100 per cent record against Atalanta on Wednesday.
The Citizens have made light work of Group C and will be expected to make it four wins out of four against a pointless Atalanta team, who are being forced to play their home games at Milan’s San Siro stadium due to their ground not meeting UEFA requirements.
In the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium, the English champions came out on top 5-1, with Raheem Sterling netting a second-half hat-trick.
The Italians did take the lead on the night and gave Pep Guardiola’s men a few issues before the home side’s superior quality eventually shone through.
Having seen what Atalanta can throw at his men, the Spanish tactician expects his players to be fully prepared for Wednesday’s encounter.
“Before the first fixture, there might have been a danger but they have experienced exactly what it takes to come up against them,” said Guardiola.
“The first half was very even, up until 3-1. We’ve prepared as best we can. We know it is always tough to come away in Europe.”
With Sunday’s top-of-the-table showdown against Liverpool on the horizon, Guardiola is expected to mix it up when it comes to his starting XI to face Atalanta.
However, his options in midfield are limited, with David Silva limping off with a hamstring complaint at half-time of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Southampton.
Silva has been left at home as a result, as has Phil Foden, who was sent off in the win over the Italians a fortnight ago. Other absentees include Leroy Sane, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Rodri and Aymeric Laporte.
Tommy Doyle and Ian Poveda have been included in the City travelling squad and the teenage duo could play some part in the encounter.
Atalanta head into the clash after being surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Cagliari at home at the weekend. They have now won just one of their last five matches in all competitions.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s need to turn their form around quickly, especially with qualification for the last 16 still possible.
They sit just four points behind second-placed Dinamo Zagreb in the group and so need something from Wednesday’s encounter to keep their knockout hopes alive.
Star striker Duvan Zapata is still missing with a thigh injury for Atalanta, who otherwise have a fully-fit squad.