Manager-less Huddersfield host Manchester City with the champions looking to keep the pressure on Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League.
Huddersfield would not have envisaged a stage in the season where they lie bottom of the Premier League table and are without a manager, as they welcome champions Manchester City. The Terriers have been able to collect only 11 points from their 22 games so far, leaving them bottom of the pile and eight points adrift of Cardiff in 18th.
The Terriers only picked up their first point since November in their draw with Cardiff, and have lost nine of their last ten games. The bad run of results has seen David Wagner pay the price with his sacking recently, meaning the bottom side enter the game without a manager. And, caretaker boss Mark Hudson will not have a tougher opposition to begin with than facing Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men are on the mend after a blip in December, when they lost back-to-back games to Crystal Palace and Leicester City. However, the champions have dragged themselves back into the fold to challenge Liverpool with a win over the league leaders recently before beating Wolves on Monday to keep pace with the leaders.
Given City’s rampant form in January in front of goal, and the fact that Pep Guardiola’s men beat Huddersfield 6-0 earlier this season, there’s plenty of optimism for the visitors to win this one. Guardiola would want his team to maintain composure and keep their focus on teams from the bottom half of the table.
Team News & Tactics
Mark Hudson has every reason to be worried ahead of his first game in charge with several injuries threatening to derail the quest to get something out of the game. The interim Huddersfield boss will have to contend without the injured trio Danny Williams, Aaron Mooy and Abdelhamid Sabiri.
However, on a more positive note, Hudson will be able to welcome captain Tony Smith back into the side after the player returned to full training from his hamstring injury. Other than that, there is no fresh injury concerns to the team, and Hudson will be looking to field his strongest possible lineup.
Hudson will field a 4-3-3 formation with the likes of Smith, Zanka, Christopher Schindler and Erik Durm all lining up at the back. Jason Puncheon, Jonathan Hogg and Philip Billing will be the midfield trio, while the likes of Elias Kachunga, Alex Pritchard and Steve Mounie will form the attacking trio for Huddersfield.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Durm; Puncheon, Hogg, Billing; Kachunga, Pritchard; Mounie
Pep Guardiola should be able to welcome back Sergio Aguero into the mix on Sunday, following his full recovery from injury. The fit-again striker could come into the side and replace Gabriel Jesus, despite the Brazilian scoring seven goals in his last three games in all competitions.
Aguero does have an impressive scoring record against Huddersfield, and this could be the opportunity to fix that. The recent weeks have provided the time and games for Kevin de Bruyne to make his comeback and Guardiola could be tempted into using the Belgian and Spaniard David Silva together from the start for the first time this season.
Additionally, French full-back Benjamin Mendy is also nearing his return to the side after a long injury lay-off, although the Huddersfield game will come too soon for him, meaning Fabian Delph could stake a claim for the left-back spot on Sunday. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have shown their respective form of late and should be in the side as part of the front three alongside Aguero.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
- Huddersfield haven’t won a home league game against Manchester City since April 1988 (1-0), drawing two and losing two since
- Manchester City have conceded just nine goals in their last 13 league matches against Huddersfield, and never more than once in a game.
- Huddersfield are on the longest current winless run in the Premier League, failing to win their last nine games in the competition.
- Huddersfield have only scored more than once in one of their last 32 Premier League games (2-0 vs. Wolves in November), failing to score on 17 occasions in that run.
- Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has been involved in 23 goals in his last 13 Premier League games against teams starting the day in the relegation zone (20 goals, 3 assists)
Player To Watch
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian midfielder, who proved to be the most important player for Manchester City last season as the side went on to clinch the title, has played a minimal role this term due to niggling injuries. The Belgian was forced to bide his time on the treatment table, although a few cup games have shown his regained confidence and recovery of form.
De Bruyne is set to start in Guardiola’s favoured midfield trio of Ferandinho and David Silva, and it could be the first time the three start a game together in the league this season. It’s time for De Bruyne to show his importance to the side as Manchester City look forward to a tricky title chase with Liverpool.
Huddersfield 1-4 Manchester City
Huddersfield, sitting at the bottom of the Premier League table are penciled in for the drop come the end of the season. The Terriers have neither seen an upturn in form, nor are the players stepping up to perform at their required levels. Add those factors to a manager-less situation and facing Manchester City, and it does look like the side will suffer another defeat and a heavy one.
Manchester City have been on a scoring streak of late, and they don’t look like there are in a mood to spare Huddersfield as the Citizens seek goals and three points to keep the pressure on Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s men are overwhelming favourites to win this clash and with plenty of goals.