9th December 2018

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MAN CITY MIGHT STRUGGLE

MAN CITY MIGHT STRUGGLE

5th November 2014

Midfielder Frank Lampard could return from a thigh injury to feature in Manchester City's Champions League match against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old has missed four games since being carried off during the 4-1 win over Tottenham on 18 October.

Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov is out with the calf injury picked up in the warm up of Sunday's win over Manchester United, but Eliaquim Mangala returns.

City have taken only two points from their first three games in Group E.

The Premier League champions followed defeat at Bayern Munich with draws at home to Roma and in Moscow, increasing the possibility of a third group-stage exit in four years.

Failure to beat CSKA would not be terminal to City's Champions League hopes and despite being on just two points, manager Manuel Pellegrini is optimistic his side can go all the way in the competition.

"Of course our target is always to try to win the Champions League," Pellegrini told his pre-match news conference.

"Maybe there are five or six squads better than our squad or at the same level as our squad that also want to do it, but with a winning mentality and an ambitious mind, you must always think you can do it. I think we have time to prove it."

City reached the last 16 of last year's competition, where they were beaten by Barcelona over two legs.

Pellegrini feels CSKA's visit is not a "death game" and that qualification is possible regardless of the result, but the return of Lampard will undoubtedly be a boost to midfield options.

"I'm not far off selection," said Lampard. "Fingers crossed, if all goes well over the next couple of days, I'll be back in contention."

Lampard has already scored some vital gaols from limited opportunities and at least can take the pressure of Sergio Aguero who has scored 10 of City's last 15 goals.

City should win, but on balance are no 2/7 shots. CSKA have a mental oneupmanship after salvaging a draw in Russia and at 53/10 with BetBright.com a draw looks an atractive bet.

Joe Ross