Tevez the Trojan to banish the Greeks
Man City v Aris Salonika | 20:05 - live on ESPN
Manchester City's journey for European silverware this season has seen their passports stamped in Romania, Austria, Poland, Italy and most recently in Greece. Home comforts are on the agenda in this match though as Aris Salonika visit Eastlands in the second leg of this Europa League last 32 tie.
City (1/5) put in a professional if somewhat uninspired performance in Thessalonika last week, never really looking uncomfortable against their Greek opposition but at the same time never really grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. If City are to put this game, and the tie, to bed then I feel that an attacking approach will reap the most benefits.
Carlos Tevez (2/1 first scorer, 2/5 anytime) and Edin Dzeko (11/4 first scorer, 8/13 anytime) started the first leg up front for the Citizens and while Tevez had an uncharacteristically subdued evening, Dzeko had a couple of great chances, including a powerful header that Sifakis made a fine save from.
Making a comeback in that game was Italian international Mario Balotelli (11/4 first scorer, 8/13 anytime). The £24 million striker went close with an improvised overhead kick but failed to give City a crucial lead.
The men from Eastlands will be without Irish goalkeeper Shay Given, who has been ruled out for three months with a shoulder injury, and also missing are Micah Richards, Nigel de Jong and James Milner. Tevez is likely to start upfront with either Balotelli or Dzeko partnering the Argentine. Accompanying the attack should be the creative influences of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry.
This game will be Aris's (14/1) 50th in UEFA club competition and the Greek side will be hoping to reach the last 16 for the first time in their history.
I was impressed with the industry and pressing of Aris in the first leg but they will be reliant on forwards Raul Bobadilla (12/1 first scorer, 5/1 anytime) and Nery Castillo (14/1 first scorer, 11/2 anytime).
A player I was impressed with for Aris was midfielder Juan Carlos Toja. The Colombian midfielder was the creative force in the engine room and put in some excellent, dangerous crosses and a couple of stinging shots that had Joe Hart scrambling. If there was anybody in the Aris team that should worry Roberto Mancini, then this is him. He is 25/1 to break the deadlock and could be a great each way shout.
Man City aren't the only English team in Europa League action on Thursday. Liverpool also host Sparta Prague. Both teams are expected to win well so as part of our Match Winner special we've enhanced the price on the both to win by two or more goals to a generous 5/2.
My recommendation for this game is for the double result of Draw/Man City at 16/5 where I can see the Greeks proving difficult to break down but surely , the City class will tell.
William Hill certainly feel that City will have too much for their opposition, quoting City at 1/10 and Aris at 11/2 in the To Qualify market.