Schalke 04 vs Manchester City
It’s been a tough season for plenty of Schalke fans, and the season is still far from over. Their club is dangerously close to the drop zone, and it seems to the neutral fan that even the prospect of the team making the top half of the table is an impossible task in itself.
Fortunately for them, they have seen success in the Champions League after dominating in the group stages. However, it looks like their European excursions are coming to a premature close as they welcome a behemoth of an opponent to VELTINS-Arena.
Champions League 2019 odds heavily favour Manchester City to lift the Champions League trophy, and there’s little doubt as to why bookies gave them such odds. The Sky Blues are a supreme team made up of superb players who are coached by a stellar manager.
This is a story of two extreme trajectories, and it will be interesting to see if Schalke can pull off a miracle at home.
Do we Schalke it up as a loss?
A quick look to Schalke’s standing in the Bundesliga is the easiest barometer to help you understand just how terrible the team has been over the past four months.
It becomes especially baffling if we check the manner in which they dropped points. Embarrassing results against Freiburg, Werder Bremen, and Hertha Berlin aren’t doesn’t help in building any positive atmosphere in the locker room and among the stands. Losing at home to Bayern Munich doesn’t help, either.
The reason for their struggles in the season can be traced back to their inability to consistently score goals. You know that there’s trouble in Domenico Tedesco’s paradise when his squad’s top scorer is his right-back.
Fortunately for them, their poor run of form domestically has not affected their Champions League campaign. They could count themselves lucky to be playing alongside Porto, Galatasaray, and Lokomotiv Moskva in Group D. They quickly established themselves as group leaders and got enough points to help them reach the knockout stages.
However, the lack of a proper attacker is still evident in the European escapades. That is probably why they signed Manchester City youngster Rabbi Matondo to a four-year contract. The City academy product and Wales international would provide a fresh attacking option on the wing.
Things are still dire on their end, though. I believe only a few us fans would take a risk of them getting a positive result.
This is Manchester’s City now
I now ask you to take a look at the Premier League table this time and try to imagine Manchester City dropping points against Schalke. Can’t imagine anything? Because that is physically not possible.
The Sky Blues are the biggest supergroup in European football that many are considering them favourites to achieve the quadruple: bookies tip them to win the league, the league cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
The fact that they are not considered one of the round’s most interesting games is as much praise towards City as it is a knock on Schalke. It’s hard to not assume City as the easy winners of the round when you have players such as Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, and Leroy Sane up front.
Pep Guardiola also has options if he wants to switch things up. Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, and David Silva were terrific in the group stages and will be huge problems Schalke’s flaky backline. They will certainly be a part of many Champions League 2019 highlights.
Just what do you do when you have such an impossible team as your opponent?
The two clubs have only met each other once, and that was in the 2007/08 Europa League group stage. Benjamin Mwaruwari and Stephen Ireland were the goalscorers in a game that saw City shut out their German rivals.
Their most recent form also tells us just how dominant Manchester City have been this season. Barring their freak loss to Newcastle United last month, the Sky Blues won their last six games in all competitions by at least two goals. The most impressive of the bunch was the 6-0 drubbing they handed Maurizio Sarri’s a week ago.
Meanwhile, Schalke are struggling to find any sort of stability in their form. They have alternated between wins, losses, and defeats in their last six games. Their 4-1 DFB-Pokal triumph over Fortuna Dusseldorf was encouraging, but that was followed up by an inevitable away loss to Bayern Munich and a disappointing tie against Freiburg at home.
|Schalke 04 vs Manchester City||Manchester City Asian Handicap -1.75 @ 2.05|
|February 21, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
I have to apologise to the most ardent Schalke fans out there, but I just don’t see Manchester United dropping points any time soon.
They are on a good run of form and have better players on their roster. City are succeeding on every front they are fighting in, and that in itself is a testament to how deep their squad is. Meanwhile, Schalke cannot stop opponents from scoring in their own net to save their lives.
I honestly don’t see Schalke stopping any of City’s talented attackers, and we will see evidence of that when they play. Tedesco can employ a three-in-the-back formation with wingbacks on support to try and hamper the City attack.
I still don’t think that would be enough, though. This may sound foolish, but the only way to stop them is to put six on the backline and have the remaining four figure out how to get past Guardiola’s intricate pressing system.
Honestly, just go pick City.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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