Manchester City will be eyeing an FA Cup quarter-final with Middlesbrough ahead of their fifth-round replay against Huddersfield Town this week (7.45pm Wednesday, live on BBC1).
Pep Guardiola’s side were held to a goalless draw in the original clash between these two teams at the John Smith’s Stadium, as their dogged and resilient opponents made life difficult for the Premier League visitors.
Guardiola’s principal focus for the remainder of the campaign will be finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League. While he will also be determined to lead Man City into the latter stages of this year’s edition of Europe’s foremost continental club competition, the FA Cup does present the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach with an opportunity to win a piece of silverware in his first season at the helm at the Etihad Stadium. So the City manager will be keen to see his side progress to the last eight on Wednesday.
Huddersfield Town’s primary objective this term remains securing promotion to the Premier League, with David Wagner’s charges currently in third spot in the second tier standings following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Yorkshire rivals Barnsley. Wagner and his players will nevertheless be desperate to impress against Man City, particularly as they have the chance to lead the club into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1971/72. This preview believes that they certainly have the ability to cause Guardiola’s men problems if the hosts are guilty of complacency, but it is still difficult to envisage the Terriers picking up a famous victory away from home this midweek.
Manchester City will be missing Gabriel Jesus (foot), Ilkay Gundogan (knee), Gael Clichy (back), Aleksandar Kolarov (knock) and Vincent Kompany (leg) at the Etihad Stadium, while Guardiola may look to shuffle his pack and hand a first-team opportunity to some fringe members of his squad. The likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Fabian Delph, Jesus Navas and Nolito will all be hoping for some significant game time after finding it rather hard to come by in the Premier League and Champions League in recent weeks. Youngsters such as Aleix Garcia, Tosin Adarabioyo and Pablo Maffeo will also be pushing for involvement from the start. David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero could all be rested, but Guardiola will probably include some of his star men among the substitutes in case City need an intervention at a later stage of the game.
Huddersfield Town will have to make do without the services of Joel Coleman (calf), Jonathan Hogg (groin), Sean Scannell (ankle), Nahki Wells (ankle) and Kasey Palmer (hamstring), but Izzy Brown is available for selection again following a bout of illness.
Wagner favours a high-tempo, energetic and high-pressing approach. The German-American shares a similar philosophy to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who he worked with at Borussia Dortmund and will not change his principles this week. That said, it would not be a huge surprise to see Huddersfield adopt a slightly more cautious game plan given the circumstances.
City should ultimately have too much attacking quality for Huddersfield in this game, although their vulnerabilities at the back mean the Championship outfit may fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet. Town’s best chance of completing an upset probably came in the first game at the John Smith’s Stadium, which is why a home win looks to be the best betting option for this match on Wednesday night.
As for this preview’s selections, a Manchester City triumph with both teams to find the back of the net is our first betting tips’ proposition (best 15/8 with Bet365). Wide man Leroy Sane (pictured) could be a sensible selection when it comes to choosing an any time scorer which is biggest odds at 11/8 with SkyBet.