Manchester City are braced for an uncomfortable first match against CSKA Moscow after Uefa deemed the Khimki Arena was in a playable condition.
The current Russian champions were forced to play their last European match in St Petersburg after heavy rainfall and a busy fixture schedule caused damage to the pitch.
English sides have struggled in matches away in Moscow. Aston Villa were knocked out by CSKA in the third round of the 2008-09 Uefa Cup after losing the second leg 2-0, and Arsenal lost their 2006-07 Champions League group stage tie 1-0. Manchester United and Chelsea edged narrow 1-0 wins in encounters with CSKA earlier this decade.
City will have to put up with temperatures between 1-3C but have reason to be confident. They followed up their 3-1 humbling by Bayern Munich by beating Everton and West Ham by the same score, whereas Moscow are struggling with the defence of their Russian league crown. CSKA are 12 points off leaders Zenit, whom they lost 2-0 to on the weekend, and have a goal difference of minus three.
It is an important match in the race for second place. Both teams are on three points after beating Viktoria Plzen and losing to Bayern. Last year’s champions may be favourites to top the group but one of City or CSKA can put distance from the other with a win.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 5.00pm
These teams have never met in a competitive fixture.
Manchester City will be the sixth English club to face CKSA Mosow this decade.
City have never faced a Russian side before, in a competitive fixture.
CSKA are goalless in their last five league matches.
Before winning 3-0 at Victoria Plzen, City had lost five of their last six away Champions League games.
CSKA’s usual stadium, the Luzhniki Stadium, is currently being rebuilt for the 2018 World Cup.
CSKA Moscow: 5
Manchester City: 1.75
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