Cardiff v Man City preview: Pep Guardiola looking for a response after Champions League defeat
Last Updated: 21/09/18 12:42pm
Manchester City will look to respond to their shock Champions League defeat to Lyon when they travel to Cardiff City on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola's men went down 2-1 at home in midweek with their manager watching on from the stands due to a UEFA touchline ban as City were punished for a unusually sloppy display.
However, City's record against newly-promoted teams is imperious, winning 23 and losing only one of their last 31 meetings with teams new to the league. That defeat came five years ago against Burnley.
Neil Warnock's men are one of four teams in the Premier League yet to pick up a win this season. They have had the fewest shots on target and successful passes by any club in the league as a lack of quality in the final third has hampered their progress.
The last time Warnock played Manchester City in a Premier League fixture was when Crystal Palace lost 3-0 in 2014 - he was sacked seven days later.
The clubs met in a controversial FA Cup fourth-round tie in January which City won 2-0. The game was overshadowed by a bad Joe Bennett tackle which left City winger Leroy Sane with ankle ligament damage.
City manager Guardiola was furious with Cardiff's combative style and responded by calling for players to receive greater protection from referees.
"I totally agree with him (Guardiola)," Warnock said. "Sane missed three games, but if you watched in the 50th minute there was a tackle from Kevin De Bruyne on Jazz Richards that put him out for 17 games.
"So I would say which is the worst? That sounds like a worse tackle than Bennett's, but we didn't make a song and dance about that.
"There were one or two naughty things we didn't get and everybody wrote about the one tackle that Benno knows was a disgrace. De Bruyne didn't even get booked, but he caught his knee badly and it should have been at least a yellow card."
Cardiff midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.
The Iceland international is yet to feature for his club this season. Warnock is due to assess several of his players who are carrying minor knocks but Harry Arter is set to return after illness.
Man City will definitely be without Eliaquim Mangala, Claudio Bravo and Kevin De Bruyne.
There are also doubts regarding the fitness of Benjamin Mendy, meaning Fabian Delph will start at full-back once again.
Sergio Aguero has recovered from his ankle injury and should replace Gabriel Jesus in attack.
- This will be the third meeting between Cardiff and Man City in the Premier League, with the previous two encounters providing 11 goals - Cardiff winning 3-2 at home and losing 4-2 at the Etihad in 2013-14.
- Cardiff City have won just one of their 14 Premier League games against the 'big six' sides (W1 D1 L12), losing each of their last 10 conceding 30 goals in the process.
- Cardiff have conceded in each of their last 20 top-flight games against the reigning champions, however the Bluebirds have only failed to score once in the previous 13 such contests - their most recent game against Manchester United in January 2014.
- Cardiff are winless in their last nine Premier League matches (D3 L6) since a 1-0 win at Southampton in April 2014.
- Man City have won eight of their last nine Premier League matches played immediately following a Champions League game, with the exception being a 2-3 home defeat against Manchester United in April.
- Manchester City haven't lost any of their last 31 Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday (W27 D4), since a 0-1 home defeat against Stoke in August 2014.
- Manchester City have the highest (89.8%) while Cardiff have the lowest (63.6%) passing accuracy in the Premier League this season. The Citizens have attempted 2111 more passes than the Welsh side this season (3462 to 1351).
- Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has scored 12 and assisted two more in his last 12 Premier League games against newly promoted sides. However, he's failed to score in both meetings against such sides this season (vs Wolves and Fulham).
I remember Cardiff gave City a real run for their money at home in the FA Cup. Defeat to Lyon in the Champions League will have really dented City's confidence, Lyon could have picked them off and had four or five.
What I always find with City is that they are a frontrunner kind of team, if they hit the front they are like the Harlem Globetrotters, if they go behind their shape, everything, completely and utterly goes out of the window.
That being said I do expect them to win the game, but Cardiff will make it difficult for them from set plays, there's no doubt about that.
Cardiff have had a real go and their results haven't been for the lack of trying, they just lack a bit of guile. Hazard was the difference last week against Chelsea, and that's a compliment.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (11/1 with Sky Bet)