Manchester City return to action on Saturday, looking for a fifth consecutive win in all competitions when they travel to West Yorkshire for what promises to be a tricky FA Cup 5th round tie against Huddersfield Town of the Championship. The Terries are in a very strong position to fight for promotion to the Premier League, and they promise a tough test for Pep Guardiola and his men.
City have a very important match in just a few days: the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League against AS Monaco at the Etihad on Tuesday. It's the first European knockout under Guardiola, who has reached the semifinal in all seven seasons of his managerial career. The Catalan is a Champions League master, and the focus is certainly on facing Monaco with the best possible team.
Since the Premier League is still a distant dream thanks to Chelsea's unbelievable form, the FA Cup might be City's best shot at a title this season. Winning the Champions League should never be a realistic target because City never came close to winning it, but the domestic success in recent history certainly gives City a favorite status in the FA Cup.
Huddersfield will be a tough challenge, but could provide the perfect "tune-up fight" for Monaco. Winning a fifth game in a row and advancing to the next Cup round will certainly bring even more confidence to the squad ahead of Tuesday's big game, and beating a good Championship team will be helpful to sharpen the edges for the visit of Europe's most dangerous attack.
Gabriel Jesus is probably out for the season after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his right foot, and after providing an amazing spark to the team, the Brazilian will now recover as the rest of the squad looks to build upon his fantastic contributions. Along with Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan is the other injury absence for Guardiola to deal with, which means the rest of the squad is available to play.
Pep said on Friday's press conference that a few players have "little problems", and with Monaco on the corner, those few players are likely to be rested. We could assume that veterans like Yaya Touré and David Silva won't play, and we still don't know who the goalkeeper is going to be. If Claudio Bravo is indeed the backup now, he should be the FA Cup keeper, but it looks as though the spot is wide open, so maybe Willy Caballero plays.
Now that Jesus is injured, Sergio Agüero has a big chance to step up and prove why he's still as good as we think he is, but with Monaco coming up, he might not play, which would give Kelechi Iheanacho a chance to see some minutes for the first time in forever.
Huddersfield (4-2-3-1, right-left):
Coleman | Cranie, Hudson, Stankovic, Holmes-Dennis | Billing, Whitehead | Lolley, Payne, Brown | Kachunga
Manchester City (4-1-4-1, right-left):
Bravo | Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy | Fernandinho | Navas, De Bruyne, Delph, Nolito | Iheanacho
On to the next round. 4-1 City.