The Champions League is back and on game week one, champions Manchester City host Red Star Belgrade (or Crvena Zvezda to give them their proper title), in a Group G clash at the Etihad. We’ve previewed the tie and given you our suggested best bets. 

Man City vs Red Star Belgrade Tips

  • Manchester City over 3.5 goals – 5/6
  • Red Star over 29.5 booking points – 10/11

Manchester City (1/25) look to have a relatively straightforward group as they attempt to recreate the popular phrase about buses: “You wait ages for one and then two come along at once”.

Pep Guardiola and his men finally landed the big one last year (as part of a magnificent treble), after years of being the favourites and near misses but can they go back-to-back and win the Champions League two years running, to establish themselves as the European powerhouse?

First up, they face FC Crvena Zvezda (25/1), or Red Star Belgrade in old money and the Serbian SuperLiga side will be looking to pull off the shock of the century in Manchester.

The Citizens are already sat proudly at the top of the Premier League, after a flawless start to the campaign with five straight wins, including a 3-1 win away at West Ham on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Red Star are in a run of bad form, losing two of their last three in the SuperLiga and have dropped down into third spot in the table.

 Team news:

Guardiola is still without long-term absentee Kevin De Bruyne, as he continues his recovery from his serious hamstring injury. However, there is better news concerning Mateo Kovacic, who should be able to take part here. This game may come just too soon for John Stones and Jack Grealish, who will be targeting Nottingham Forest at the weekend instead.

Red Star are missing just one player through injury, as the left-winger, Aleksandar Katai, continues his rehabilitation from a back injury.

Manchester City over 3.5 goals – 5/6

There’s a reason City are as short as 1/25 to win this fixture; simply put, they are in a different league to the once mighty Yugoslav European Cup winners, who are now just a big fish in Serbia but a relative minnow in Europe.

The Citizens haven’t even found top gear in the Premier League yet but are unbeaten and have smashed in 14 goals thus far.

One gets the feeling that this could be a long old night for Belgrade and I fancy City to put them to the sword.

Red Star over 29.5 booking points – 10/11

With the Red Whites conceding goals and struggling to create much at the other end, the frustration could get the better of them and I think we may see a fair few rash challenges flying in.

Red Star are averaging three yellow cards on the road and City certainly have players who can draw fouls.

Referee João Pinheiro is averaging a whopping 6.33 yellows per game in Liga Portugal and also gave out 11 yellows in two Nations League matches, so is certainly fond of a card.

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