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Red hot Manchester City prepare to face uncertain Celtic in UEFA Champions League

Manchester City travel to Glasgow where they face Celtic whose first Champions League match this season resulted in a 7-0 to Barcelona

By: Reuters | London |
September 27, 2016 12:00:26 pm
manchester city, uefa champions league, manchester city champions league, sergio aguero, raheem sterling, pep guardiola, kevin de bruyne, david silva, celtic, celtic barcelona, brendan rodgers Manchester City possess some of the most lethal finishers in English football. (AP Photo)

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has a goalkeeping dilemma to resolve before Manchester City turn up for their Group C Champions League match in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The Scottish champions shipped seven goals at Barcelona in their opening group game and Rodgers needs the safest pair of hands he can find to keep out some of the most lethal finishers in English football.

City have scored more than anyone in the Premier League this season, leading by four points and winning 10 out of 10 games in all competitions under new manager Pep Guardiola.

Their latest victims were Swansea City, rolled aside 3-1 on Saturday with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero scoring twice.

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The first goals Aguero scored in English soccer were against Swansea, in 2011, when Rodgers was in charge and the manager needs no reminding of the Argentine’s talents.

He may, however, have to put his faith in a man whose confidence was described only last week by former Celtic striker Chris Sutton as “shot to pieces”.

Unconvincing Dutch goalkeeper Dorus De Vries was substituted at halftime due to injury in Celtic’s 6-1 Scottish Premier League win over Kilmarnock on Saturday, with Scotland international Craig Gordon the replacement.

“Dorus strained his chest when he landed. He could have played on but we had Craig there fit and capable and I didn’t want to take any risk with it so we will see how Dorus is over the next couple of days,” Rodgers told reporters.

The Northern Irishman said he would have no qualms about fielding Gordon against City, who beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 in their opening group game thanks to an Aguero hat-trick.

“He’s more than capable. He’s a brilliant shot stopper, he’s improving his game with his feet all the time,” he added of a player who drew Sutton’s criticism after a high challenge in a Scottish League Cup quarter-final against Alloa.

City will be a very different class of opponent to Kilmarnock, but Celtic will still feel buoyed by Saturday’s win.

“It’s a great game for us. Games at home here at Celtic Park in the Champions League are really special nights,” Rodgers said.

City will feel the likely loss of Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, to a hamstring injury, but they have plenty of other options with Raheem Sterling ready to relish the reunion with his former Liverpool boss.

One more win would also allow Guardiola to equal his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini’s club record of 11 consecutive wins, achieved last season.

Wednesday’s game is the first between the two sides in European competition, but Celtic have several ex-City players in their squad including defender Kolo Toure, Scott Sinclair and on-loan winger Patrick Roberts.

“People are saying that Celtic are the weakest team of the group but, believe me, we know it’s going to be really hard because they’re a really strong team when they play at home,” City defender Pablo Zabaleta told the Mirror newspaper. We won’t be thinking about what happened to Celtic against Barcelona.”

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