Here we go! It’s the start of the beloved Carabao Cup for Manchester City – a tournament that has brought vast amounts of success for the Premier League champions! The blues begin their journey in Lancashire, facing high-flying Championship side Preston North End at Deepdale.
Ahead of this game, we spoke to Olly from Preston website Deepdale Digest – here’s what he had to say on a number of topics surrounding tonight’s game!
Preston have had quite a remarkable start to the 2019/20 season, sitting third in the Championship! What would you put this early success down to?
A much stronger defensive setup, although whether that can slow down Manchester City is another matter! Patrick Bauer has been outstanding since arriving in the summer, giving us a dominant presence at the back. Alex Neil has been tactically brilliant too, adapting his style and selections perfectly for each opponent.
Some may suggest that the gap between the Premier League and football league is growing. What do you make of this apparent gap between the top-flight and the other three league divisions?
The gap in quality as a whole is large, especially between Manchester City and Preston for instance. Yet we’ve seen Norwich impress in the top flight with a few additions and the likes of James Maddison, Daniel James and David Brooks making seamless transitions to the Premier League, so the talent is there. Financial disparity is a big factor though, especially with teams sneakily dodging FFP sanctions. The gap will only get bigger if the EFL continue to sit idly by.
Where does the Carabao Cup stand in terms or priorities for PNE this season?
A cup run would always be nice, but the league is the most important thing. A playoff spot is more likely than a lengthy Carabao Cup run, with an ultimately bigger prize too, so the decision becomes clear.
Who should City be looking out for in the PNE side?
Ben Pearson and Paul Gallagher are the key to this side, often controlling games in the Championship. It’s unlikely we will get that much of the ball against Manchester City, so the centre back pairing of Patrick Bauer and Ben Davies will have to continue their fine form. North End don’t really have big names, as it’s always more about the team, but Tom Barkhuizen’s pace in attack will be key too.
What have you made of Manchester City’s start to the campaign?
The Norwich defeat aside, it’s been impressive again. Beating anybody 8-0 is impressive enough, never mind a Premier League team. Kevin De Bruyne looks like a man desperate to make up for lost time, Riyad Mahrez looks more dangerous than last season and Rodri has been a fine addition. Anybody writing off Manchester City after one defeat may look silly, because this is still a City side sure capable of dismantling anybody.
With Manchester City expected to field some of their youth prospects on Tuesday evening, what are you expecting from the game?
If it’s anything like other games against top Premier League sides, we will make a decent start but ultimately run out of steam. There may be opportunities to hurt City at the back, but having the ball for long enough and keeping star attackers quiet won’t be easy. North End are hard working and organised so it won’t be a walkover, but we’re under no illusions about the task facing us.
PNE starting XI and score prediction?
PNE Predicted Starting XI: Declan Rudd; Darnell Fisher, Patrick Bauer, Ben Davies, Andrew Hughes; Ben Pearson, Paul Gallagher; Billy Bodin, Daniel Johnson, Seani Maguire; Tom Barkhuizen. There’s a chance Bodin won’t make it, so Josh Harrop could come in, or Brad Potts for a little more athletic ability.
As for a predicted score, we’ll go for Preston 1-3 City – we may sneak a goal but keeping Raheem Sterling and co out will be so difficult.
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