Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Date: 26 November 2017
Referee: Craig Pawson
Kick off: 16:00
Manchester City play away at Huddersfield Town in their 13th league match of the season and come into this match looking to extend their club record 17 wins in a row.
Pep Guardiola made 7 changes for the midweek clash against Feyenoord but still fielded a relatively strong line up. The team lacked rhythm for most of the match however and only in the 88th minute was Raheem Sterling able to grab a winner by applying a sweet finish to a smart Ilkay Gundogan through ball. The team against Hudderfield can allow the stars rested in midweek to return and put out a strong performance so that City are able to maintain their 8 point lead at the top of the table in a weekend where they play after all of their rivals.
According to Guardiola, “everyone is okay”, apart from the players who’ve been injured for the longer term – Benjamin Mendy and John Stones. Vincent Kompany played the entire 90 minutes last week and should return again this week alongside Nicolas Otamendi, who will be back from suspension and has looked much more dependable this season. Fabian Delph will also be back at left-back after being rested in midweek. In the middle, Fernandinho and David Silva got a much deserved break but the team visibly struggled without them, so they should play too. Gabriel Jesus is likely to start up front after Aguero played the full 90 against Feyenoord and will be flanked by Sterling and Sané on the wings providing width.
Huddersfield Town were expected to struggle in the Premier League this season due to the strength and size of the their squad but they have surpassed all expectations and are currently in 10th place with almost a third of the season played. They have been in good form at home where they have only been beaten by Tottenham and have even claimed the scalp of Manchester United in a famous victory. City played them there last season in the League Cup and were only able to manage a goalless draw, albeit with a much weakened team. They play a very high tempo, pressing game and City will have to be on their toes to get the better of them.
One player to look out for will be Aaron Mooy, who was sold to the Terriers by City this summer. He has been their standout player and ranks first for them in goals + assists, chances created, successful passes, passes in opposition half and touches.
David Wagner has said that he has a strategy to manage City’s strength and I expect them to play a compact and tight defensive shape against us. Hopefully the combination of a refreshed midfield and width by Sane will be able to break them down. I predict a 0-3 victory for the visitors with Sané, Silva and Jesus on the scoresheet.