The Big Match Preview – Manchester City vs Cardiff City (Premier League)

Seven games, seven wins and Manchester City will become Premier League champions. Liverpool’s last minute victory against Spurs on Sunday was a blow and could’ve been that bit of breathing room we needed. As the third keeper this season dropped the ball into his own net to gift them the victory, I’m sure Pep Guardiola wouldn’t have been bothered by it, so why should we. 

So, we move on to a season defining April month in which we have a staggering eight games in 25 days. The first of these is a midweek fixture where Cardiff City are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola said this week we need to ‘go like a machine into Cardiff’ and admits that when his teams are still fighting for every competition it helps keep the hunger in the camp up.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 30: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City celebrates whilst wearing a black and red scarf in memory of former club secretary Bernard Halford following the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on March 30, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Cardiff on the other hand are in a fight of their own – to stay in the Premier League. Demoralised from an unjustified defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Manchester City are definitely not the team you want to be facing. City will still need to be wary though of the threat Cardiff possess from set pieces and remember they only failed beat Chelsea due to an offside goal. But could the psychological affect of an unjustified defeat be enough to give Cardiff even less chance of gaining anything from their trip to the Etihad?

Manchester City went into their 0-2 victory at Fulham with a virtually fully fit squad and left with only a slight concern for our top scorer Sergio Aguero. Guardiola confirmed post-match that it was just a precaution. However, it was later revealed in the pre-match conference ahead of Wednesday night’s game that Sergio Aguero would miss the clash with the Welsh side and would “hopefully” be fit in time for the FA Cup Semi-Final against Brighton or the Champions League clash with Tottenham.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 30: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City walks in before the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on March 30, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

In our previous encounter with Cardiff, it was the blues of Manchester that stormed to a 5-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium with goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and a brace from Riyad Mahrez securing the points. Those goals were the Algerian’s first for the blues, and he may even be rotated into the side with the extremely testing fixture list ahead.

With Neil Warnock admitting Cardiff may ‘play the U23’s and try to keep it down to 10 or 11’ it’s a good chance for City to add to their already impressive goal difference. However, it seems like that was simply a comment made in the heat of the moment with the Cardiff manager backtracking on Tuesday afternoon and confirming he will opt for his first team. Gabriel Jesus will have the opportunity to impress Pep Guardiola and fight his way to a starting spot.

Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (R) runs at the Fulham defence during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage in London on March 30, 2019. – Manchester City won the game 2-0. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE.

The return of Fernandinho on Saturday was a brilliant sight but Pep Guardiola may still opt for Ilkay Gundogan in this one with his ability against teams playing the low block to use his passing range.  I think it’s fair to say that Cardiff will be hoping to sit back and hold on for a 0-0 draw and an early goal will again be key in this one if Manchester City are to stroll to all three points.

So here we go. The hectic month begins. Let’s start how we mean to go on and get a big win on Wednesday night!

You can follow the author on twitter here: @HSiddallJourno

You can follow us on twitter for more Manchester City content: @City_Xtra

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