After a sobering defeat at Stamford Bridge, where we were solid for 40 minutes, then fell completely apart for the next 50, Cardiff come back down to earth with the small matter of a home tie against Manchester City. After last season’s FA Cup tie at the CCS, there will be scores to be settled and Cardiff will be hopeful that they can take something from a wounded Manchester City…
Cardiff City vs. Manchester City
Cardiff City Stadium
21st September 2018, 3pm (BST)
Referee: Michael Oliver
How Cardiff City might line-up:
And three things to look out for
After a drubbing at Stamford Bridge, Warnock said players won’t be allowed to get away with making the same mistakes twice. And the most obvious choice of player that was aimed at was Sol Bamba. His ridiculous challenge on Willian gave away a penalty and our chance of clawing back into the game. And his introduction of Jazz Richards suggests he’s willing to try something new from here on in. If change is going to come at the back, Bamba could make way for Jazz with Manga moving inside. But Warnock might be willing to give Sol one more chance…
The midfield has been a fluid three so far this season – and with Dercodova-Reid playing consistently, our system has had a different flavour to it over recent weeks. More attacking fluidity and reverting to a 4-4-2 when defending gives us an extra edge when breaking. And the middle of the park will be a key battle against Manchester City. I can really see a more defensive setup with Arter and Ralls anchoring. Arter’s energy will be key in giving City no time on the ball and the rest of the team will need to follow suit and Camarasa will revert to an extra winger when we push forward.
Zohore or Madine on the bench. Zohore, without intention from Warnock, has become somewhat of a scapegoat for the ills of this season. I don’t think it’s fair but, sadly, it is what it is. Against Chelsea, Warnock favoured bringing on Madine late on to change the top line. But what happens against City? Zohore has the tenacity and running to cause teams problems – and he will be chomping at the bit to put a wounded Man City to the sword. Madine won some good headers against Chelsea, but he’s going to need to show more to his all round play to be a real contender to Danny Ward. So when the game is motoring on, who will Warnock turn to?
Manchester City players to watch out for
Despite a loss in the Champions League, Manchester City are, rather, a good side. Sergio Aguero is one of the finest centre forwards this league has seen and whenever I’ve seen him play, his movement is frightening. That’s going to be something the defence will need to keep on top of. They cannot let him out of his sight and need to try and make Aguero play in front of them – as soon as he gets on their shoulder, it could be game over.
Raheem Sterling. He took us apart when he was at Liverpool in that 6-3 home game loss and he’s transforming into an even better player under Pep. He’s got skill, pace, and can finish. We will need to be alert when he’s running at us and who’s running off him – with full backs who like to get forward, players like Sterling can free up space for others to run into.
Best Case Result?
They are wounded. They haven’t quite hit their stride this season and will be wary about playing at the CCS after last season’s cup tie where, according to the hysteria of the press, Joe Bennett took a hammer to Leroy Sane’s legs. If we can come out the traps like we did against Arsenal and catch them flat-footed, the crowd will get on their back and they might wilt somewhat. The game will have a bit of needle and I hope we use that to our advantage. Can we win? Sure, why not. Will we win? Another matter. But we can be optimistic of a real gutsy 2-1 win.
Worst case result?
It’s Manchester City isn’t it? Pep is a footballing genius at clubs like City and last season’s 100 points was no mean feat. They lost to Lyon in the Champions League, sure, but they are going to be wounded and wanting to make amends for that. There will be some degree, rightly or wrongly, of them wanting to avenge last season’s FA Cup shenanigans and Pep will be on at them to come out swinging. They have quality in every position and if they want to, they could beat us comfortably. 4-0 is a very realistic score line.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @VFTNinian