Manchester City travel to Wales to face newly promoted Cardiff City as they look to the response after their Champions League disappointment.
Lyon left Pep Guardiola, and his Manchester City side shocked during midweek, as the visitors recorded a 2-1 win at the Etihad in their opening Champions League group game. Pep Guardiola was in the stands due to his touchline ban and Mikel Arteta failed to inspire his side when left in charge of the team. But, Guardiola is back on the field and will be hoping Manchester City to be back in their stride as well.
In the aftermath of that defeat to Lyon though, there could be many changes to the playing squad, as Guardiola will look to find answers as to why his team lost during midweek. On the other hand, having already lost some ground to Premier League leaders, Chelsea and Liverpool in the table, Guardiola very well knows three points is a must, and anything else will only add more pressure on the Premier League champions.
Neil Warnock and Cardiff City are no strangers to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, having met last season in the FA Cup. The tie stirred controversy as Guardiola called for referees to protect his players more after Leroy Sane was on the receiving end of a harsh tackle from Joe Bennett, although Warnock will look to leave that incident behind and look to get a result against the Cityzens.
Cardiff are without a win after five matches this season, as they sit in 17th place level on points with Huddersfield, who are 18th and just one point ahead of the other two sides in the relegation zone, Newcastle United and Burnley. A win might be something Cardiff City can dream of, but Manchester City will be pumped up to respond after their loss to Lyon.
Team News & Tactics
Cardiff host Manchester City and are without any significant problems within their squad with injuries and suspensions. Midfielder Harry Arter, who missed last weekend’s game against Chelsea due to illness is expected to come back into the side having had significant time to recover from it.
In case Arter is fit to feature, the Cardiff boss might stick with the same lineup that played against Arsenal and Chelsea, with a midfield comprising of Arter, Joe Ralls, Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa. Alternatively, Aron Gunnarsson could feature instead, although the Icelandic midfielder is still not fully fit along with Josh Murphy. Both midfielders are expected to play a role from the bench at some stage of the game.
Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison will form the central defensive partnership to stop the City attack, supported by Joe Bennett and Bruno Ecuele Manga as full-backs. Bobby Reid and Danny Ward will comprise the strike partnership for Cardiff with the hope of scoring some goals against a strong city defence.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-4-2): Etheridge; Bennett, Bamba, Morrison, Manga; Hoilett, Ralls, Arter, Camarasa; Reid, Ward
There will be relief for Manchester City supporters for their manager returns into his usual role on the touchline, as they have already seen what his absence can do. City have some long-term injury absentees, with Kevin De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo, Danilo, and Eliaquim Mangala all absent from their matchday squad.
Sergio Aguero might return to the starting lineup, after only playing a cameo role off the bench against Lyon, owing to the knock he picked up against Fulham last weekend. With his return, Gabriel Jesus is expected to be the player to move to the bench with Guardiola looking to make some significant changes from the team’s loss against Lyon.
Benjamin Mendy is still doubtful for the Cardiff game, meaning Fabian Delph could continue deputising for the Frenchman at left-back. Additionally, after being impressed by Leroy Sane in midweek, Guardiola is set to name the German in his starting lineup against Cardiff. Ilkay Gundogan could also start from the bench and be replaced by Bernardo Silva in his place.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Delph; Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, David Silva; Sterling, Sane, Aguero
- Manchester City and Cardiff are meeting only for the third time in the Premier League.
- The last two encounters have resulted in 11 goals being scored, with Cardiff winning 3-2 and losing the other game 4-2 back in 2013-14.
- Cardiff have only one victory in their 14 games against the “Big Six” sides.
- Manchester City have the highest passing rate of 89.8%, while Cardiff have the lowest with 63.6% in the league this season.
- Neil Warnock has lost all six of his league meetings against top-flight champions as a manager, and is yet to see his side score a goal against those sides.
Player to Watch
Sergio Aguero signed a new contract with Manchester City this week, and this came after Pep Guardiola finally recognised his importance for the team. But since scoring a hattrick against Huddersfield a few game weeks ago, the Argentine international has gone a little quiet on that front. However, he does have an impeccable record against newly promoted sides, scoring 12 and assisting 2.
But, in the last two games against newly promoted sides (Fulham and Wolves), Aguero has failed to find the net. On the one hand, he would want to get back to scoring goals, and sides like Cardiff would be an excellent opportunity to add to his tally in the Premier League while helping City get back to winning ways.
Cardiff City 0-3 Manchester City
Manchester City are overwhelming favourites to win this clash against Cardiff City. The hosts have struggled in the Premier League so far, although they have faced two “Big Six” teams in Arsenal and Chelsea already in their five games and Cardiff can take the credit of pushing both sides to their limits before surrendering.
Manchester City are in a league of their own and will ensure they get their result, rather comfortably against Cardiff. But, Neil Warnock will be hoping to prove his men are no pushovers, although he has an abysmal record against reigning Premier League champions. Expect Manchester City to sweep aside Cardiff when the two teams meet.