Match Coverage

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Man City (FA Cup): Match Report & Highlights

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Manchester City
18/02/2017
The John Smith’s Stadium (Attendance: 24,129)

Pep Guardiola’s side drew a frustrating blank as they were held to a bore draw in West Yorkshire by Championship promotion challenging Huddersfield.

City turned to a number of fringe players, with one eye firmly set on the Champions League clash with French league leaders Monaco, on Tuesday. Pep made eight changes from the side that beat Bournemouth, with the likes of Navas, Nolito and Delph getting a rare chance to prove their worth.

Huddersfield boss David Wagner also selected a weakened team, and his thoughts were echoed by the stadium announcer at half time, who said “this isn’t even Huddersfield’s biggest match of the week, never mind the season”, as the Terriers host promotion rivals Reading mid-week.

In fairness, neither side would have wanted the headache of a replay, but that was the outcome. It was a rather dull affair that surely won’t stick in the memory for a long period, but a replay is a lot better for City than some fans are making out, with the FA Cup being City’s best chance of silverware this season.

For the most part, City’s build-up play was slow and lethargic, lacking the energy that Sterling and Sané have brought in abundance in recent weeks. The midfield trio of Delph, Fernando and Fernandinho was missing the ability to turn defence into attack in a heartbeat, which De Bruyne and Toure so often do. Saying that, Fernando had a fine game in the centre of the park, but his final ball let him down a few times.

In terms of chances, there was little to get either manager off their seats. Philip Billing had a goal correctly disallowed for the home side in the first half, and besides that, Claudio Bravo looked comfortable between the sticks for City. The Chilean keeper clearly has the ability, or else Guardiola and Luis Enrique at Barcelona wouldn’t put so much faith in him, and a few smart saves in this game may be a sign of his confidence growing.

For a goalless draw, the game was pretty open, with both sides trying to score. Aguero came close on a number of occasions, but it seemed it wasn’t going to be his day. Guardiola turned to his bench, in Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sané, but neither really changed the game. De Bruyne looked off the boil, but credit has to be given to Dean Whitehead who showed he still has the ability in defensive midfield in his autumn years.

City’s best chance perhaps came when Jesus Navas fired a ball across Huddersfield’s 6-yard-box, which asked questions of the home side’s defence, but it was dealt with. Sergio Aguero’s movement in the box is so often deadly for defenders to deal with, but today he was slow off the ball, and the Aguero of the start of the season may have got on the end of a couple of crosses today, despite Navas’ balls too regularly being wayward. Saying this, Sergio showed a couple of glimpses on the ball, running at defenders purposefully and getting a shot off, however it wasn’t going for the Argentine today.

Overall, “It is what it is”, as Pep said post-match. The two sides will meet again on Tuesday 28th February, where City will hopefully field a stronger side, giving that there is seven days in-between the Monaco game and this replay. City were too lethargic here, and will need to step it up if they are to beat Monaco, as stray balls seemed to summarise the afternoon for Pep’s men.

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