Because Manchester United beat Brighton on Saturday, Manchester City have to win at the John Smith’s Stadium to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Huddersfield Town actually beat United a few weeks ago, so they like to make things tough for Manchester teams.
Pep Guardiola knows how difficult this will be, so he rested most of his superstars in the Champions League win against Feyenoord. The Blues will be fresh and at full strength on Sunday, and Pep will no doubt go with his strongest possible lineup.
The John Stones injury might be a big problem until January, but the return of captain Vincent Kompany makes things a little bit easier. The Belgian played very well against Leicester City (though he was lucky not to be sent off in the first minute), and the rest on Tuesday kept him fit and ready to play this one. Managing Kompany’s health will be crucial until Stones comes back, but he’s 100% ready for Huddersfield.
The rest of the team should be the one we’ve seen a lot over the last couple of months, with the only real doubt at the striker position: Sergio Agüero started against Feyenoord and Gabriel Jesus played only 30 minutes, so it’s safe to assume the Brazilian will start this one.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!)
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
David Wagner says he has an idea to slow down City’s potent attack and they’ve been working on it during the week. We don’t know what that idea is but it’d be shocking to see Wagner going for it with an attacking lineup. He likes to press high up the pitch and hurt teams with speed on the counter, but we won’t see a very expansive team looking to fight for possession with the Blues.
One thing we could see from Wagner that we haven’t seen yet is a slight change in formation. Huddersfield usually play a 4-2-3-1 with former City midfielder Aaron Mooy in a holding role and four very attacking players in front of him. Against City, we will probably see a stronger midfield and Tom Ince moving from a central position behind the striker to the wing. A 4-3-3 (or 4-1-4-1, if you want to call it that) sounds plausible to have more bodies in midfield and pace on the wings.
The Terriers are built on hard work, pace and defensive organization, and they’ll need all of that and more to stop the Blues. But if they can stop United, then they can also stop City.
Predicted XI: Lössl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Löwe; Williams, Hogg, Mooy; Kachunga, Depoitre, Ince
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Huddersfield: Lössl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Malone; Williams, Hogg; Van La Parra, Mooy, Ince; Depoitre