Manchester City v Cardiff : Match Preview
Argentine forward Sergio Aguero marked his return from a spell out with injury with a well-taken goal on Wednesday night, but his fellow striker Stevan Jovetic remains on the sidelines.
Cardiff will travel to the daunting Etihad Stadium without injured pair Andrew Taylor and Jordan Mutch.
Recently installed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to decide whether to hand Norwegian recruits Magnus Wolff Eikrem and 18 year-old former Manchester United academy player Mats Moller Daehli debuts.
It will inevitably be a tough ask of relegation strugglers Cardiff to do what no Premier League side has done this season. Exit the Etihad with an extra point or two on the scoring board. Pellegrini's side have already notched ninety-nine goals in all competitions this season, with the competition of a truly remarkable feat (100 goals) sternly on the cards. However, the Bluebirds would be advised to take a leaf out of Crystal Palace's book and modify it to have any form of opportunity to break Man City's commendable record, something Solskjaer is openly determined to do.
While Manchester City may still boast an impeccable 100% home record, the mentioned feat came alarmingly close to breakage, from the unlikeliest of sources. Relegation-combating Crystal Palace. An Edin Dzeko goal to break a stout and resolute Palace side after 69 minutes lf home frustration maintained the imperious, fear-instilling statistic. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are to stand any chance of returning to the Welsh capital with a result, they will have to take a leaf out of Tony Pulis's side's book. Defend stoutly and resolutely, putting in numerous last-ditch blocks, work Joe Hart as frequently as possible and modify the leaf to keep focused in the last twenty minutes or so and pose a threat yourself on the counter-attack as City begin to commit more men forward. Nonetheless, boss Solskjaer will only need to turn to Cardiff's memorable 3-2 win over City in August for inspiration, a victory that was secured under the stewardship of Malky Mackay.
From a Manchester City perspective, it is a game you must win and are expected to cruise through in, producing exceptional, scintillating football to go with it. It is these fixtures which have generously contributed to the ninety-nine goals registered by City so far this season. Fixtures at home against teams battling it out at the opposite end of the Premier League. 4-2 away to Fulham, 7-0 home to Norwich and the respective recent drubbings of West Ham and Blackburn in the cup competitions are adequate prototypes of the point. With Cardiff, who lie in the bottom three as consequence of their disconcerting home defeat to fellow strugglers West Ham last weekend, the upcoming visitors to the Etihad, there is no reason why Blue Moon faithful can't expect a downfall of goals. But this is football, anything can happen.
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