STUNG by an unlikely defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Champions League in midweek, Manchester City will be keen on getting back to winning ways.
And because of that loss at the Etihad, Cardiff may feel a strong backlash from the Cityzens despite them playing at home.
One distinct difference between the Lyon game and today’s clash at Cardiff City Stadium in the Welsh capital is that Pep Guardiola will be in the dugout. That alone should be enough to get the Citizens firing on all cylinders again.
Guardiola was banished to the stands against Lyon, serving a suspension for a misdemeanour in the Champions League against Liverpool last season.
City’s midweek performance was a shabby one and the only bright spark on the night was goalkeeper Ederson and Bernardo Silva.
However, today the likes of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David Silva, IIkay Gundogan, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker – depending on who is in the starting line – are expected to go all out against the Bluebirds and see the champions play with the swagger for which they have become renowned for.
City trail Chelsea and Liverpool by two points in the standings by virtue of having drawn one game.
It’s difficult to see where Cardiff will find adequate resolve to hold Man City today, never mind cause an upset. They have battled to two draws and three defeats since their promotion to the Premiership at the end of last season.
But then again, greater surprises have unfolded in the Premiership and the home side might be quietly confident of getting on the scoresheet again, having managed it in their last three matches, albeit in defeats.
Roberto Camarasa is one of a handful of players who started all five of Cardiff’s league games this term and he might be the one to sneak a goal or two past City.
If he should accomplish it, the Spaniard will be hailed as a hero in Wales. But it’s more likely that City will get their way and bury their midweek sorrows at the expense of a team that has yet to win this season.