Manchester City kick off their 2023/24 Champions League campaign against Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad this week.
Reigning champions Manchester City will feel confident about defending their crown given the state of most top contenders combined with the group they've been drawn in.
City found themselves drawn into Group A along with this week's opponents, RB Leipzig and Young Boys - a very favourable group indeed.
They haven't been at their scintillating best so far this season but almost none of the big clubs in Europe have, with almost every side displaying gaping holes in their squad or setup.
Despite this, City have still won every game they've played so far this season and they're coming into this one off the back of a 3-1 win away at West Ham United.
The game in London was a potentially tricky fixture given the manner in which West Ham have started the season but despite going 1-0 down City fought back to claim a valuable three points thanks to goals from Jérémy Doku, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland.
In only Doku's second game for the club, the Belgian impressed immensely off the left flank against West Ham as he displayed a level of speed, directness and adeptness in 1v1 situations that few other players in the City ranks can match.
If he can continue to build on that showing he'll likely be a huge asset to the club given he's a unique profile in that particular squad.
The Etihad is an absolute fortress in the Champions League and City will likely beat any team they face on their own patch, or at least not lose, and this one should not be any different.
Red Star Belgrade are playing in the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since the 2019/20 season.
The Serbian side are generally an experienced outfit in Europe but having been absent from the competition's final stage for a number of years they'll feel quite hard done by having been drawn into such an unkind group.
They've had a somewhat underwhelming start to the season by their standards s they find themselves 3rd in the league table, four points behind the leaders.
They're also coming into this one out of form having lost two of their last three matches, with their most recent encounter a 2-1 defeat away at Cukaricki at the weekend.
It is, then, not the best time to be playing the best side in Europe and it's hard to see anything other than a heavy defeat for the away side.
For our Manchester City vs. Red Star Belgrade prediction, we're going for a 3-0 win for the home side.