MX23RW : Saturday, October 19 00:22:45| >> :600:33980978:33980978:
Sep 22, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Cardiff City Stadium
Attendance: 32,321
CardiffCardiff City
Man CityManchester City
FT(HT: 0-3)
Aguero (32'), Silva (35'), Gundogan (44'), Mahrez (67', 89')

Preview: Cardiff City vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of champions Manchester City's Premier League trip to winless Cardiff City.

Champions Manchester City will be looking to make it five wins from their first six Premier League matches when they travel to winless Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.

The Citizens have performed well in the top flight in the opening stages of the season, but they head into this latest match on the back of a disappointing showing in their Champions League opener in midweek.

Cardiff City

Sol Bamba celebrates his shock opener during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018© Reuters

A third defeat on the spin in all competitions away at Chelsea last weekend has left Cardiff out of the EFL Cup and, of more concern to manager Neil Warnock, hovering one place above the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

City have had a tough start to life back in the top flight, having faced two of last season's top six either side of the international break, with three more still to come in their next five outings - starting with this toughest test of the lot against Man City.

The Bluebirds' creative problems seems to have been resolved, however, thanks to three goals in their defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea, ending a previous run of six hours and 55 minutes without netting on their top-flight return.

Warnock saw plenty of positives from the 3-2 loss to Arsenal and 4-1 reverse at Chelsea, having pushed the Gunners all the way in that most recent home outing, before travelling to Stamford Bridge with little fear and taking a shock lead.

That only counts for so much, though, and having been sunk by an Eden Hazard-inspired Blues side, points really are a must for Warnock and his men. With home matches against Burnley and Fulham on the horizon, City need to continue treading water for the time being.

Not since 1921-22 had Cardiff failed to win any of their opening five fixtures of a top-flight campaign prior to this campaign. Taking all competitions into account, meanwhile, it is seven matches with a victory for the Bluebirds - their longest-such run since February 2015.

Warnock is clearly desperate to put things right, admitting after the loss in West London - which saw Chelsea net two goals in the final 10 minutes of the match - that his side have to get the basics right if they are to climb up the division.

The veteran manager, who is now without a win in 11 Premier League matches, is adamant that the Welsh outfit will not park the bus when the champions visit this weekend, but that may not be the wisest of strategies if the hammering at Chelsea is anything to go by.

Recent form in Premier League: LDDLL
Recent form (all competitions): LDDLLL

Manchester City

Leroy Sane celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Fulham on September 15, 2018© Reuters

If Pep Guardiola's complaints after Man City's 3-0 win over Fulham seemed a little harsh, the Catalan coach had every right to be frustrated by his side's performance in their 2-1 loss to Lyon in midweek.

Guardiola watched on from the stands due to a UEFA touchline ban as the Citizens were punished for a poor first-half display, making them the first English side to lose four Champions League matches in a row.

City were the bookies' pre-tournament favourites to go all the way on the continent, but a rethink may now be required. With Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and German outsiders Hoffenheim also in the group, progression is far from a formality.

The reigning English champions have not exactly had things all their own way domestically speaking, either, as Wolverhampton Wanderers snatched a point off them at Molineux last month, leaving them two points adrift of perfect pair Chelsea and Liverpool at the summit.

Even accounting for that setback at Wolves, and acknowledging Guardiola's comments after the comprehensive win against Fulham, when complaining about his players' profligacy and making them train the day after the match, it has otherwise been business as usual.

Chelsea and Arsenal were brushed aside with the minimum of fuss in the Community Shield and Premier League, before putting six past Huddersfield Town and battling past an overly-defensive Newcastle United.

The manner of City's "frustrating" defeat to Lyon, though, means that they head to South Wales under pressure to get things back on track. With the games coming thick and fast in three different competitions, this is not the time for City to lose their momentum from last season.

The good news for the champions is that they are unbeaten in their last 21 league outings against promoted sides, stretching back to a 1-0 loss against Burnley in March 2015, although they did lose at Cardiff in their most recent league visit five years ago.

Recent form in Premier League: WWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWL

Team News

Sergio Aguero in action during the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester City on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Man City will definitely be without Eliaquim Mangala, Claudio Bravo and Kevin De Bruyne for their third away match of the season, despite the latter stepping up his fitness programme over the last week.

There are also question marks over Benjamin Mendy and fellow full-back Danilo, meaning that Fabian Delph may once again be asked to fill in at left-back, as he did for the majority of 2017-18.

Sergio Aguero was not fully fit to start against Lyon due to a knock, but a return to the side at the expense of Gabriel Jesus is expected on Saturday, possibly flanked by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.

The Argentina international, incidentally, has scored 12 goals and set up two more in his last 12 outings against newly-promoted sides, but he has fired blanks against two such teams already this term.

Cardiff are hopeful that midfielder Harry Arter will be declared fit to start against the champions, a week on from leaving the field at half time at Stamford Bridge due to illness.

Should the Irishman be ready to feature, Warnock may well stick with the same XI that featured in the games against Arsenal and Chelsea, meaning a four-man midfield comprised of Arter, Joe Ralls, Junior Hoilett and makeshift wideman Victor Camarasa.

The other alternative for Warnock is to bring in Aron Gunnarsson to shore up midfield, but the Iceland international is not fully fit and has yet to be used at all this term, while Josh Murphy is also not 100% and is expected to provide back-up from the bench.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Delph, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker; D.Silva, Fernandinho, B.Silva; Sane, Aguero, Sterling

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Bennett, Bamba, Morrison, Manga; Hoilett, Ralls, Arter, Camarasa; Reid, Ward

Head To Head

This weekend's contest at the Cardiff City Stadium will mark the third time that the two sides have faced off in the Premier League era.

Cardiff memorably won 3-2 at home in the first of those thanks to a couple of Fraizer Campbell goals, before putting up a brave fight in a 4-2 loss at the Etihad Stadium later in that maiden Prem campaign.

The Citizens won the most recent encounter - a straightforward 2-0 away win in the FA Cup fourth round in January - and they boast 21 victories and nine draws from the 50 previous fixtures.

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We say: Cardiff City 1-3 Manchester City

Cardiff pushed Arsenal all the way three weeks ago and were right in the contest against Chelsea until the final 10 minutes, but they ultimately came away with no points. A similar outcome can be expected this weekend, especially considering that Bluebirds boss Warnock has lost all six of his previous league encounters against reigning champions by a 13-0 aggregate scoreline.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League meeting between Cardiff City and Manchester City?

Cardiff City
Manchester City
Cardiff City
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Gabriel Jesus in action for Manchester City on April 29, 2018
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