After Saturday’s routine 3-0 win over Fulham, Pep Guardiola’s men fell to a disappointing home 2-1 defeat to Lyon in the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium.
Goals from Maxwell Cornet and Nabil Fekir gave the Cityzens the worst possible start to the tournament as they look to improve on last season’s Quarter Final run and win the competition for the first time in their history.
In the league, however, City have been in good form since returning to action after the international break and will expect a third domestic win in succession when they travel to South Wales for Saturday’s 3pm kick off.
In contrast, the home side are still in search of their first three points of the season. Sitting just outside the relegation zone, picking up points at home is going to crucial if the Welsh club are to defy the odds of dropping back down into the Championship.
Pep Guardiola will be prowling the touchline again after serving his one-game European ban in the defeat to Lyon on Wednesday night and his opposing manager, Neil Warnock, will have to be on top form, as will his players, if they are to get a positive result against last season’s runaway champions.
After impressing from the bench on Wednesday, Leroy Sané is expected to make the starting eleven for the second time in a week and, considering he scored within the opening two minutes against Fulham last weekend, the German winger will have a huge part to play if City are to emerge from the Cardiff City Stadium with all three points.
Wing-back Benjamin Mendy is also in line to be reinstated into the team after being dropped for the previous two matches.
Cardiff suffered a 4-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last time out, but that doesn’t mean to say that Neil Warnock won’t stick with the same line up, especially considering his side took the lead in the capital last week.
However, the newly-promoted club are yet to win a game this season and so summer signing Josh Murphy may well get a start against City.
Cardiff City (4-5-1):
Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Camarasa, Ralls, Arter, Hoilett, Murphy; Ward
Substitutes: Peltier, Richards, Zohore, Paterson, Cunningham, Madine, Reid.
Manchester City (4-3-3):
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy; Gündogan, Fernandinho, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Sané, Agüero.
Substitutes: Muric, Stones, Zinchenko, Delph, Mahrez, Foden, Gabriel Jesus
PREDICTED SCORE: 1-2
This match has shades of City’s win at Bournemouth at a similar stage last season. Raheem Sterling’s injury-time winner in a brilliant game gave Guardiola and his men a crucial victory as they set about their stunning winning run.
Of course, Cardiff don’t play the same expansive football as Bournemouth, or in fact City, so the tone of the game will be different, but the crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium make it a daunting venue to play in. If the Cardiff players can give them something to shout about, they will and the inevitably physical fixture will be much closer than many people think. I reckon City will just edge it though.