Manchester City – Bristol City (EFL Cup)
After eliminating Manchester United in the previous round, Bristol City are now up against another Manchester side, this time traveling to the Etihad Stadium ir order to face Manchester City for the 1st leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals. The Citizens arrive here after two very satisfying results, one for the Premier League against Watford, and the other one for the FA Cup against Burnley. However, the same can not be said about Bristol City, who arrives here after three consecutive defeats, one of them also for the FA Cup.
Manchester City reached these semi-finals after eliminating West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Leicester City in the previous rounds, putting themselves on the right track to win what may be their fifth title in the competition. More recently, the Citizens have won the 2013/14 and the 2015/16 editions. This season, the Sky Blues are enjoying a superb campaign in every competition they are participating, they are isolated leaders of the Premier League, have advanced in the FA Cup and in the Champions League as group leaders, and are probably the best football team in Europe.
The Citizens are extremely versatile in the offensive process, they are very dangerous in counter-attacks, offensive set-pieces and in attacking down the wings, but are also extremely dangerous in creating scoring chances through individual skill, as they have very talented players. In addition to this, the Sky Blues have won all their last 8 home matches in all competitions, scoring 23 goals and conceding 6 in the process. Guardiola will try to get a comfortable victory here in order to reach the 2nd leg with a good advantage.
In their last 5 official matches, Manchester City has a record of 4 victories and 1 draw. This sequence of results started with a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth. This result was followed by a 0-1 victory against Newcastle, a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace, a 3-1 victory over Watford, and in their last match, a 4-1 victory against Burnley, for the FA Cup. Benjamin Mendy, Kompany, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden are all out due to injury.
Probable Lineup: Bravo – Walker, Stones, Otamendi and Delph – Fernandinho, Bruyne and David Silva – Sterling, Aguero and Sané.
Bristol City, on their turn, are here after eliminating Plymouth Argyle, Watford, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Manchester United in the previous rounds, reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1988/89. Having taken four Premier League teams out of their way, the Robins are a team that deserves to be respected for their opponents. However, Bristol City have lost momentum in the Championship, losing the 2nd place of direct promotion to the Premier League in the league table, and fell to 4th place, which grants access to the promotion play-offs.
Since eliminating Manchester United, Bristol City have only won one of the resulting five matches and have lost each of their last three. The Robins have disappointed even more in their last two consecutive matches, losing both and conceding 8 goals without scoring none in the process. Coach Lee Johnson will be looking to set up a good defensive net here in order to do his best to nullify City’s attack, intending to at least stay in the tie to have something to fight for in the second leg, where they will be playing at home.
In their last 5 official matches, Bristol City has a record of 1 victory, 1 draw and 3 defeats. This sequence of results started with a 1-1 draw away to QPR. This result was followed by a 2-0 victory over Reading, a 1-2 defeat against Wolverhampton, a 5-0 defeat against Aston Villa, and in their last match, a 3-0 defeat against Watford, for the FA Cup. Gary O’Neill, Hegeler, Diedhiou, Pisano, O’Dowda and Lucic are all out due to injury.
Probable Lineup: Steele – Wright, Flint, Bakerand Magnusson – Smith, Pack, Brownhill and Bryan – Paterson – Reid.
Manchester City has won the only direct confrontation in the last 38 years.
Carling Cup 2007/08
Manchester City should opt for a strong entry and try to impose here an expressive result that gives them a good advantage for the second leg, which might result with a few goals on this match.