|City face Ajax in Champions League acid test|
24 October 2012
PARIS: Manchester City will be out to show they have learned from last season’s mistakes when the English Premier League titleholders travel to face Ajax today with their Champions League ambitions hanging in the balance.
Like last season, City are off to a poor start again, following up a last-gasp loss which was minutes away from being a momentous opening win in the Bernabeu with a fortuitous home draw with Dortmund. A win in Amsterdam is vital to City’s hopes as they look to chase down what is already a five-point deficit to Real and three to Dortmund while they will also be praying Real claim a win in Germany that would as good as stake their claim to the ultimate top spot.
City must shrug off their bouts of European travel sickness and not succumb to the late killer goal as they did in Madrid, administered by former Manchester United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo. The Blues will also hope David Silva may recover to play a part following hamstring trouble.
Injury-hit Dortmund out to halt Real
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund will need to check Real Madrid’s early Champions League momentum when the top two in Group D face off today with the Germans facing an injury crisis and poor form.
Dortmund have big injury concerns with midfielder Jakob Blaszczykowski definitely out, while defender Marcel Schmelzer, plus midfielders Mario Goetze and Ilkay Gundogan are all racing to be fit to face Madrid.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is keen to end the side’s decade-long Champions League drought, not least as that achievement would make him the first man to coach three different teams to glory. Mourinho said that Dortmund would provide the stiffest opposition for them.
“I’m not sure [if Manchester City are our biggest opponents], Borussia Dortmund have been champions of Germany twice in a row,” said the Portuguese. “They are well organised and very experienced, with many international-calibre players from Germany, and the top two from Poland.”
Wenger wants Arsenal response after shock loss
Arsene Wenger has called on his Arsenal stars to deliver an immediate response to their shock defeat against Norwich when Schalke visit the Emirates Stadium today.
And Wenger hopes the embarrassment of losing to struggling Norwich will provoke a reaction from his players.
“I hope it will have a positive impact when we play Schalke,” said Wenger. “It was a shock but you have to give credit to Norwich because they played well and they deserved the win.”
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