Manchester City have successfully negotiated one Portuguese obstacle on their way to continental glory this season... only to find another one in their way now. The Premier League leaders will face Sporting Lisbon in the next round. The last time they played each other, in a friendly in 2010, Lisbon's Yannick Djalo (who has since moved to Benfica) scored twice to hand Mancini's men a defeat.
The two sides will be looking to make the most of their respective advantages in this first leg - Lisbon will look to gain control since they will be hosting the first match, while City will look to score at least one away goal before welcoming the Portuguese to the Etihad Stadium.
The stats and recent form, however, seem to favour Manchester City.
City have been in imperious form for some time now and are unbeaten in five, across all competitions. Moreover, Mancini's men have just enjoyed a comprehensive 4-0 win over Lisbon's domestic rivals, Porto, in the previous round and will definitely look upon their tie with Sporting Lisbon as winnable.
Their hosts for Thursday night, who are currently fourth in their domestic league, will be coming off a hard-fought 1-0 win over Legia Warsaw in their last Europa League game and have some injury concerns to boot, especially that of Van Wolfswinkle... their top scorer.