Manchester City and Villarreal CF are both still seeking a first victory in Group A going into the first of their back-to-back meetings in north west England.
City took their first UEFA Champions League point when drawing at home to SSC Napoli but their subsequent defeat at FC Bayern München leaves them just a point better off than Juan Carlos Garrido’s Villarreal, beaten at home by Bayern and at Napoli in their opening two games.
Villarreal are bidding to avoid two unwanted firsts – the Madrigal club have never lost three successive European ties and have never failed to qualify from the group stage of a UEFA club competition, two of their six successful campaigns coming in the UEFA Champions League.
Villarreal might have chosen a more hospitable venue to turn their fortunes around; City are unbeaten in 13 European home matches, their last reverse coming against FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.
Manchester City have faced Spanish visitors twice before. They beat Athletic Club 3-0 at their former home Maine Road to earn a 6-3 aggregate victory in the first round of the club’s triumphant 1969/70 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup campaign. They then held Valencia CF 2-2 in a 1972/73 UEFA Cup first round tie before succumbing 2-1 in Spain.
Manchester City‘s only other encounter with a Spanish team was a 3-1 reverse at Real Racing Club in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.
Although Villarreal won 2-1 at Everton FC when they first visited England for a 2005/06 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie, they have not scored on four subsequent visits.
That sequence includes scoreless draws at Manchester United FC in the UEFA Champions League group stages of 2005/06 and 2008/09 but also two defeats at Arsenal FC – including a 3-0 loss on their most recent trip to England for a 2008/09 quarter-final.
Villarreal’s overall record against English clubs is: W3 D6 L2.