Manchester City vs Bristol City: Preview, team news and score prediction
- Manchester City clash with Bristol City on Tuesday in a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg
Domestic cup action continues in England, as the Carabao Cup takes over from a highly entertaining FA Cup third round tonight. Premier League leaders Manchester City host Championship side Bristol City, in the first leg of a semi-final clash.
Pep Guardiola's men continue to enjoy the feeling of invincibility this season, as their 4-1 victory over Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday made it 26 domestic games unbeaten and they are looking to take a step closer to making that form count by winning some silverware.
Starting any two-legged tie at home is often seen as a disadvantage but for City, it could be more of a blessing, as the Sky Blues boast 19 goals at home in their last six games in all competitions. So don't expect this match to end in a goalless draw.
That, very likely, means bad news for opponents Bristol City, who come into this encounter with the incredible record of beating four top-flight sides on their way to the semi-finals. The last of those clubs were none other than Manchester United, meaning Robins fans could at least afford to feel confident of another giant-killing over the course of the upcoming two legs against City.
Bristol's recent form, however, hasn't been pleasing. The Championship club have lost their last two league games, with a 3-0 FA Cup defeat at Watford last weekend only adding further insult to injury.
Either way, manager Lee Johnson will be fully aware of the dangers of dwelling on past defeats, especially, against a Manchester City side regarded highly across all of England.
City Captain Vincent Kompany could remain sidelined due to a calf injury, while fellow defender Benjamin Mendy and striker Gabriel Jesus are unavailable due to respective knee injuries.
Bristol, meanwhile, expect striker Korey Smith (who scored the winner against Man United) to be fit for the tie at the Etihad Stadium, after withdrawing from their game at Watford with an injury at half-time.
This is as straight-forward a cup semi-final as you'll get on paper and Manchester City would've been quietly pleased to draw Bristol, avoiding fellow semi-finalists Arsenal and Chelsea.
Guardiola has an array of options to pick his starting eleven from but will be mindful of their Premier League match away to Liverpool on Sunday. Hence, you can expect the Spaniard to pick a second-string team for Tuesday night.
That may not make a difference for Bristol, who are aware of the quality their opponents possess regardless of which team they play. Manager Johnson won't want the Robins to pay City too much respect, having seen their potential against sides better than them.
Keeping a solid back-line and making use of their counter-attacking and set-piece opportunities will be vital for Bristol.
Either way, Man City are overwhelming favourites to win.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-0 Bristol CityPublished 09 Jan 2018, 15:39 IST