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Manchester City vs Cardiff City: 03/04/2019 – match preview and predicted starting XIs

Manchester City vs Cardiff City

Date: 03/04/2019

K/O: 19:45

Venue: Etihad Stadium

Referee: Jonathan Moss

TV: Sky Sports Main Event

Two sides with totally different agendas will face off on Wednesday night as Manchester City host Cardiff City at the Etihad Stadium.

City are chasing the title for the second successive season, and they trail leaders Liverpool by two points. But Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand, which is the one against Cardiff – a win against the Bluebirds will put them on top with six games left in the season. City are still involved in three other competitions too, which makes winning ‘easier’ games like these all the more important.

Cardiff won’t make it totally easy though – just ask Chelsea. They clinched a controversial 2-1 win in Cardiff on Sunday after some questionable decisions from the referees. Neil Warnock’s side impressed in that game and they will be furious to not get anything from it. As it stands, they are five points adrift of safety, with just six games remaining after this one for them.

City will be the overwhelming favourites to win the game and go back to the top of the league but as for Cardiff, games are running out for them, and it will be interesting to see how they will recover from Sunday’s setback. The two sides met back in September, and City prevailed 5-0 at the time; a similar result is not out of the realms of possibility this time around.

Team news

Manchester City

Sergio Aguero headlines the injury list for Pep Guardiola. The Argentine starred in Saturday’s win at Fulham and had a goal and an assist in City’s 2-0 win. But he hobbled off in the second half, and he is a major doubt for Cardiff. Guardiola has Gabriel Jesus to call upon as an able understudy though and with a Champions League quarter-final on the horizon, Aguero will likely be rested even if his injury is not as serious as thought.

Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph are still out, but John Stones could make his return in defence. Benjamin Mendy has also recovered from injury, and he will be raring to feature. Oleksandr Zinchenko has deputised well, but Guardiola will want to get Mendy back in the fold; Fernandinho is also primed to make a return to the starting lineup.

Guardiola said that he will make changes to the team, which suggests that the likes of Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez could start. City have a FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, followed by a Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday and key players like Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling can be benched, but the replacements are more than able.

Cardiff City

Sol Bamba will be out for Cardiff after the defender suffered a serious injury against Wolves last month and will undergo surgery on his ACL on Wednesday. Callum Paterson is also a long-term absentee, and the striker/right-back will be out until pre-season due to an ankle problem.

Warnock could opt to go with the same lineup which he used against Chelsea, which impressed highly. Aron Gunnarsson and Harry Arter played in midfield whilst Victor Camarasa played in a slightly advanced role. Josh Murphy and Junior Hoilett were in the wide roles, and their defensive contributions will be crucial against City.

Oumar Niasse will be expected to lead the line again, but he has not exactly scored consistently for Cardiff. Kenneth Zohore is back on the bench, and he will hope to get more minutes.

Predicted Starting XIs

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko, Laporte, Stones, Danilo; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Bernardo; Sane, Jesus, Mahrez

Cardiff City (4-1-4-1): Etheridge; Bennett, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Peltier; Gunnarsson; Murphy, Camarasa, Arter, Hoilett; Niasse

Score Prediction: Manchester City 3 Cardiff City 0

City will be too strong for Cardiff, and they will want to overtake Liverpool in the standings. Cardiff should be staunch defensively, but City have enough quality to cruise to yet another win.

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