Manchester City will be facing a stern test against Huddersfield Town at the Etihad this Sunday as the Premier League champions look to continue their winning momentum.
Pep Guardiola will hope his players are able to overlook the Kevin de Bruyne injury blow as Manchester City host Huddersfield Town at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. A win could be imperative for the Citizens, who could risk losing their Belgian superstar for several months after he suffered a knee injury.
That being said, the Premier League champions seemed to have picked up from where they left off last season, registering wins in both of their competitive matches in the new campaign. Their recent victory came against Arsenal in the league opener as goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva helped them swoop aside a hapless Gunners side. And a win this weekend could further overlook the injury of de Bruyne, whose absence could be hugely detrimental for the Sky Blues.
Huddersfield Town, on the other hand, will seek to avoid any further humiliation after suffering a disappointing 3:0 defeat against a rejuvenated Chelsea. The Blues’ excellent discipline and dynamism helped them overcome a Huddersfield side who still lacks coherence following a busy transfer window.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of their highly anticipated match-up this weekend.
Team news and tactics
Guardiola won’t have many reasons to make any significant changes to his team after an impressive performance against Arsenal. Thus, we could expect the Catalan mastermind to opt for a similar 4-3-3 formation which can flex itself to a 4-1-4-1 depending on the situation.
The four-man backline will comprise of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy. Laporte, in particular, was super impressive against the Gunners and will look to continue his good form this week.
But, it is the fullbacks, who are undoubtedly going to play a key role in this encounter. The right-back Walker will be deployed as more of a cautious full-back, whose independence of making offensive runs will be limited. Instead, the English international will look to shift into central areas, at times, in order to feature as an auxiliary centre-back in defensive or build-up stances.
Mendy, however, will have a much more free role in the wider areas of the pitch, thanks to his blistering pace and superb offensive prowess. The Frenchman registered two assists last weekend and will be a key man going forward. But, he did appear tentative with the ball, at times and replicating the same mistakes could prove to be costly this time around.
While Kevin de Bruyne has been sidelined with a long-term injury, David Silva apparently lacks match fitness. As a result, he is unlikely to feature in this clash, meaning the trio of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho will retain their place in midfield. Both Gundogan and Bernardo struggled to make a mark in the last game though the latter came up with the goal that sealed all three points for Manchester City.
In attack, we could expect a little change with Gabriel Jesus coming in for Sergio Aguero. The Brazilian international will be partnered by the wide duo of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling in the final third.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan, B. Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.
Unlike Guardiola, Huddersfield coach David Wagner will have to deal with a series of absentees with many of their key players either lacking match-fitness or have been sidelined injuries.
Jonas Lossl, for one, is doubtful to start this weekend, paving the way for new signing Ben Hamer to make his first start for his new team in goal. Additionally, key defender Mathias Jorgensen, better known as “Zanka” has been ruled out for a few weeks with a muscle injury while new signing Erik Durm is also set to miss out due to lack of match fitness.
Jonathan Hogg requires a late fitness test to be considered for the starting eleven, raising doubts over his participation this weekend, which could pave the way for Philip Billing to retain his spot in midfield.
Tactically, Wagner is likely to revert to a 4-2-3-1 following the absence of Zanka, meaning the duo of Florent Hadergjonaj and Chris Lowe will once again drop deep to operate as regular fullbacks with Christoph Schindler and Terence Kongolo guarding the central defence.
But, the onus will be on midfielder Aaron Mooy to provide the necessary spark in midfield. The Australian international recorded some excellent numbers in the game against Chelsea, notably attempting seven tackles with a success rate of 71%! Thus, it will be interesting to see how he fares against his former team this weekend.
The attack will be led by Steve Mounie who will be partnered by the trio of Rajiv van La Parra, Alex Pritchard and new signing, Adama Diakhaby.
Probable starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Hadergjonaj, Schindler, Kongolo, Lowe; Billing, Mooy; La Parra, Pritchard, Diakhaby; Mounie.
- Man City have scored at least 2 goals in 26 of their last 32 matches.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 16 of Man City‘s last 18 home games.
- Huddersfield have been drawing at both half time and full time in their last 3 away matches.
- Huddersfield have drawn their last 3 away matches.
- Man City are undefeated in their last 5 matches against Huddersfield in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Starring in the convincing 2:0 win over Arsenal, Raheem Sterling is definitely the one to look out for as Manchester City look to breach the disciplined Huddersfield defence.
Aside from scoring the opener, Sterling also attempted five dribbles and took three shots on goal against Unai Emery’s men. And now, with de Bruyne sidelined for a fair chunk of the season, City’s offensive productivity will largely depend upon the performances of this English international.
His pace and goalscoring prowess has already proved to be a handful even for the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal this season. Therefore, stopping him would be imperative if Huddersfield are to snatch anything away from this game.
Manchester City 3:0 Huddersfield Town
Manchester City are expected to follow up their convincing performance against Arsenal from last week to seal an easy victory against Huddersfield. The Premier League minnows are already without the services of many of their star players and thus, stopping the world class players that the Citizens have in long supply could prove to be too much for the Terriers.