Sporting vs. Man City Predictions: Two stats based tips for Lisbon Champions League clash
Manchester City were handed a favourable tie in the last 16 of the Champions League, but Pep will be weary that there are no easy games at this level. City have been chasing glory in this competition for years, and it has so far proven to be elusive. City were narrowly beaten by Chelsea in last season’s final, despite Pep’s team being crowned Champions of England well ahead of the London club. City have been the dominant force in England for a few years and there is a growing sense that success in the Champions League is almost inevitable for the club.
Sporting Lisbon v Man City Tips
Sporting Lisbon currently sit in 2nd in the Portuguese league and they finished 2nd in the group stages of this competition, a whopping 9 points behind group winners Ajax. The Portuguese side successfully navigated their way through a tough group that included Dortmund and Ajax, and their win at home to Dortmund in November now means that the German side are now playing Europa League football.
Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus are ruled out with injury for the away side, while Kyle Walker is suspended for the fixture.
First legs of knockout ties can sometimes be a bit tentative early doors, but City know they have the quality to get a crucial early goal and it could prove pivotal in setting the tone. The visitors scoring first would force the Portuguese side to attack with more intensity and drive up to goal kick numbers, given that City are expected to force more goal kicks than the home side.
Sporting’s last 10 league matches average just under 14 goal kicks per game, while Man City’s last 10 matches in all competitions are averaging just over 13. Sporting’s Champions League groups stages matches this season averaged just over 10 goal kicks per game and City’s averaged 12. The required goal kicks for this bet landed in all 6 of City’s group matches and it landed in 5 of Sporting’s, the exception being Sporting’s trip to Dortmund (that game saw 8 goal kicks).
The tackles line is also very favourable given the teams statistics in the competition so far. Sporting’s group stage opponents are averaging over 17 tackles per game and Man City themselves averaged just under 16 tackles per game on their way to the knockout stages. Pep’s side are also averaging 13.6 tackles per game in their last 5 away matches and the players should be more than up for this match given it’s the competition they covet the most.
In the group stages, Sporting opponents averaged just over 5 goal kicks per game. Man City certainly represent as tough of a test as Sporting can get, but Pep’s team themselves average 3.8 goal kicks per game in the groups, so I’m happy to take a punt on the slightly higher line here for a longer odds bet.
In terms of shots, City averaged 17.8 in the group stages and their last 10 matches in all competitions see them average 17.2.
The cards require Sporting to have some success on the counter, but both teams did receive 2 cards or more in 5 of Lisbon’s group games so I’m happy to add that to our longshot builder.
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