3.7 key passes per game – This creative wizard holds the key to Man City’s success against Shakhtar Donetsk


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David Silva holds the key to Man City’s success against Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester City make the trip to the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv to face Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in their matchday two encounter of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Citizens have got themselves off to a blistering start this season and currently sit atop the Premier League standings with 25 points from their first nine games. They have been in remarkable goalscoring form this term, having scored 26 goals so far in the league.

However, they did not have the best of starts to their European campaign, suffering a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon on matchday one. They did manage to get themselves back to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-1 win over TSG Hoffenheim before the international break.

Shakhtar, on the other hand, have done reasonably well so far in a tough group. The Ukrainian outfit fought back from a goal down to rescue a point from their opening clash against Hoffenheim but they have every reason to blame themselves for not getting all three points from their second game against Lyon, where they squandered a two-goal lead with just twenty minutes to go.

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Manchester City had a tough time against Shakhtar last time around in the Champions League. In fact, the 11-time Ukrainian champions stunned City 2-1 at home en route to the last 16.

As a matter of fact, Shakhtar won all four of their Champions League ties at home last season and they have lost just one of their last 15 European matches on Ukrainian soil, with 11 of those ending in a victory. These facts should definitely ring the alarm bells in the City camp.

However, Manchester City will be looking to stamp their authority in the group after the opening day slip-up against Lyon. The Citizens should recognise Lyon and Shakhtar as tough opposition and they will have to battle it out to reach the last 16. It is their eighth consecutive season in Europe’s premier club competition and they should look to establish themselves as a continental powerhouse.

Pep Guardiola’s men came away with all three points with a 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on Saturday. They led 1-0 at the interval but four second-half strikes ensured that they maintained their stranglehold at the top of the standings with a superior goal difference.

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Although David Silva did not get amongst the scorers in the goal-fest against Burnley, the Spaniard once again ran the show for the Citizens. He finished the game with two assists and was arguably City’s standout performer of the day.

To be honest, the 32-year-old has done exceptionally well this season to force someone like Bernardo Silva to start from the bench. He scored the late winner against Hoffenheim on matchday two to hand his team all three points and should hold the key to their success once again.

The Spaniard has averages 69.7 passes per game with a success percentage of 87.3 including 3.7 key passes per game in the Premier League. With 3 goals and 2 assists across all competitions, he has been one the cornerstones of City’s early season success. He has constantly bullied the defenders with his short, quick and incisive passing and has been a genuine threat in the final third with his vision and presence of mind.

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Manchester City are likely to face a tough challenge against Shakhtar away from home. However, going by the way things have shaped up in Group F, all the four teams have a chance of making it to the last 16 and City will be keen to prove their supremacy. And David Silva will be their best bet for that matter.

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