Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City: Focus on Foden

Phil Foden's goalscoring record makes him good value to score when Manchester City travel to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Wednesday, says Andy Schooler.

Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City
Wednesday December 11, 17:55
Live on BT Sport 3
Exhibit A - a classic example of a game between a side with much at stake and another with nothing to play for.
And, as ever, the jury faces the tricky decision over where the value lies.
Is it with 4.00 shots Dinamo Zagreb, the hosts who need a win if they are to stand a chance of reaching the knockout stage?
Or is it with the team who have already locked down top spot in the group, Manchester City, at 1.90 - a price which in normal circumstances would look huge?
It's a tough one to call and my thoughts are far from unanimous.

Home fortress

Zagreb have built a strong reputation at home having gone unbeaten in their last 10 in Europe on their own patch.
In this group at the Maksimir, they've smashed Atalanta 4-0 and should also have beaten Shakhtar Donetsk in a game they led 3-1 heading into stoppage time but somehow only managed to draw.
It is that slip-up which may well cost them a place in the last 16, for whatever team City put out, their task remains a hard one.
The English champions will always attack and a Dinamo defence shorn of two of its regulars - Dino Peric and ex-Cardiff man Kevin Theophile-Catherine are both suspended - could easily bend.
However, at the other end those previous results show they have got goals in them with Mislav Orsic the main threat. He's netted 13 in his last 14 matches and will tempt some in the anytime scorer market at 3.75.

Changes on the cards

With so little at stake, City are certain to make numerous changes. However, remember Pep Guardiola can only choose from the pool of 30 he picked prior to the group stage. A team something akin to the one which will line up at Oxford in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals next week can be largely expected.
Several stars will get time off ahead of Sunday's Premier League trip to Arsenal and it's hard to see the likes of Sergio Aguero and John Stones being risked following injuries. Fernandinho is suspended.
Still, expect many recognisable names in the XI and City have shown in the domestic cups that they've been more than capable of winning games with a back-up team.
You could argue the level of opposition in some of those games has not been on the calibre they'll find here, but City's first XI did create chances aplenty in the reverse fixture and could easily have won by more than the eventual 2-0 margin.

City odds-on

It's not hard to make a case for backing City at the price they are, yet that nagging, worrying feeling of supporting a side not firing on all cylinders at odds-on is enough to put me off.
Likewise, I'm not convinced that Dinamo have the quality to gain the win they need - whoever plays, City need a performance after another disappointing result at the weekend and it was interesting to hear Guardiola saying that "maybe we are not able to compete" with Europe's best at present.
If that's not a bid to rouse his stuttering squad, I don't know what is.

Goals expected

Swerving the match result betting and moving on to the goals markets, it's never a surprise to see over 2.5 a short as 1.50, like it is here, when City are involved.
Both teams to score is 1.54 which reflects both how City have defended of late and the threat the hosts pose on home soil.
Those markets suggest goals which would certainly help my suggested bet.

The case for Foden

In a game where there's a doubt about how at least one team will approach it, I want to focus on what I'd describe as a working man's price and 4.70 about Phil Foden finding the net is just that.
We know he'll get a rare start - Guardiola promised as much after Saturday's derby defeat - and a look back to last season shows he often takes his chance to impress by scoring a goal.
He started four Carabao Cup ties in 2018/19 and scored two goals; in the FA Cup it was two starts and three goals. All these goals were scored when coming into a much-changed team.
In the Champions League, Foden scored against Dinamo in the reverse fixture (as a late sub) and he's now scored two in his last four appearances in the competition, only one of which has been a start.
He likes to drive forward into attacking positions and with the home defence notably weakened, he simply looks too big to score in this game.
Case closed. Hopefully.

Opta fact

Dinamo Zagreb have won just once in their last 16 matches in the Champions League, beating Atalanta on matchday one in this season's edition (W1 D2 L13).

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