The group stages of the 2019/20 edition of the Champions League begin on Tuesday. In our Group C preview, our experts have analysed the hopes of Premier League champions Manchester City alongside those of rivals Atalanta, Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk. We have also predicted who will finish where – no surprises in our predictions for first.
1st: Manchester City
Even with City widely considered the finest team in Europe, their Group C rivals may relish attacking the defence that has been undermined by the long-term absence of Aymeric Laporte, who after knee surgery will not be fit before the competition’s knockout stages. That leaves Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones as Pep Guardiola’s only senior central defenders; neither made the manager’s starting XI towards the conclusion of last season, but City can still be expected to continue to dominate possession and thus form a three-strong defensive line when building against inferior group opponents.