Phil Foden's on the rise
Marseille welcome Manchester City to the Stade Vélodrome for their Champions League clash on Tuesday evening. Les Olympiens suffered a disappointing defeat in this season's curtain-raiser away to Greek side Olympiacos in a group that's likely to be a dogfight between those two and Porto for runners-up spot behind Pep Guardiola's titans. The visitors will do them no favours, and much of the best moves they'll make could come through Stockport born Phil Foden, whose star continues to ascend slowly. Read our preview here:
Thauvin with a plan
Andre Villas-Boas' men had the double agony of slipping to an injury-time loss and a former player, Mathieu Valbuena, providing the assist for the decisive, solitary goal. Sandwiched in between their European escapades, they rallied to triumph in a keenly-fought contest against Lorient. The truncated season for most clubs means scant recovery time between games, and this will be another factor holding sway against them. Florient Thauvin has been their star man practically ever since returning to Ligue Un, and he has been impressive in 2020/2021, directly contributing to eight goals in as many domestic matches. Arguably most effective on the right of a front three, he'll be able to have some of the creative and scoring burden taken off his shoulders by Dimitri Payet on the opposite side, and both will seek to support Diego Benedetto whenever the chance arises, ensuring the striker doesn't cut a lone furrow in a match in which they are unlikely to have the lion's share of the ball.
Phil your boots
City, too, should line up with a triple-pronged attack force, and they will take the game to their adversaries from the get-go. The mix in midfield will ensure they dictate the tempo, and the presence of Rodri will aid in maintaining the link between the first and second thirds of the pitch. In his younger days, legendary figure David Silva would operate on the left of the frontline, and so too will Phil Foden in Tuesday's clash. The diminutive playmaker will drift inside at will, and in doing so, either force Hiroki Sakai to track him and be pulled out of position, or watch as his teammates in defence commit to a decision, leaving large gaps for the Citizens to stream into. Such are the myriad threats at Guardiola's disposal that Foden is not even who Marseille would be most concerned about on paper. His propensity to get off shots from distance quickly will provide goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with plenty of action all night long.
Though Man City have had their wobbles domestically, there's little reason to believe that will transfer to their pool in the Champions League. Their hosts don't have the same luxury of rotating players of a similar elite standard in most, let alone every position. Foden didn't start in the 1-1 draw at West Ham United, but showed once again that he can have an impact when coming off the bench. A victory on the Côte d'Azur could give them one foot in the knockout stages after just two matches, allowing Guardiola to focus more attention back on the Premier League. Betfair are offering odds of 2.88 for the now-England international to score at anytime.