Premier League 17/18 Week 37: Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
The Cityzens continue their victory lap with a game against a Terriers side lurking too close for comfort to the danger zone
13:30 BST, Sunday 6th May, Etihad Stadium (Manchester, England) Sky Sports
Pep Guardiola’s side come into this match as heavy favourites and not just because they’re holding home advantage. A ruthless efficiency has swept over City since they secured the Premier League title last month, scoring 9 goals in their last two games by way of celebrating their triumph. After narrowly winning their last encounter, the first time these teams have faced each other in the Premier League, Guardiola will be wary that the Terriers are a team capable of delivering a bite.
Huddersfield will be under no illusion at the scale of their task in this fixture. A team who broke their transfer record 6 times this summer face a team who have paid in excess of their total spend on 5 separate occasions this season. With only 2 points now keeping them above the relegation zone, Huddersfield have this game in hand which is essentially a “free hit” of a game against the champions.
Last Time Out
West Ham United 1-4 Manchester City (Premier League)
City cruised to victory over a sorry Hammers side, led to victory by an inspired Raheem Sterling display in which he collected a hat-trick of assists. The first of which came in the 13th minute, a time that proved unlucky for Patrice Evra and West Ham as Leroy Sané’s shot was deflected off the French defenders head to leave Adrián with no chance in the goal behind him.
Further misery befell the West Ham defence before the half-hour mark as they snapped under City’s pressing with a series of mistakes under pressure which resulted in an own goal by ex-City right-back, Pablo Zabaleta.
While the Hammers pulled a goal back through a free-kick just before the interval, the second half became an exhibition match for the away team. With Sterling at his finest, City toyed with the Hammers collecting two more goals which could easily have been many more.
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Everton (Premier League)
The Terriers fell victims to their nerves as the Toffees prevailed in an attritional game at the John Smith’s stadium. The Terriers failed to produce anything close to their best with a flat performance lacking pace, power and creativity. They also fell short defensively at the end of the first half, failing to defend against Everton’s attack after Rajiv van La Parra had gifted them possession.
After the break, Huddersfield not only failed to improve, their standards slipped to a more impotent performance. While neither side created many chances, Everton were the side to assume control and dictate the tempo of the game. Idrissa Gueye deservedly doubled the Terriers deficit, from which point there was no doubting the end result.
Manchester City Lineup
Sergio Agüero (knee) will miss out again this weekend while Kyle Walker (muscular) is also a doubt but should start after resuming training again on Thursday.
Huddersfield Town Lineup
Wagner will not have Danny Williams (ankle) Tom Ince (hamstring) or Elias Kachunga (ankle) available for this match but is expected to name the same starting eleven which has begun the previous two games.
Key Battle: David Silva (Manchester City) vs Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)
After being given compassionate leave to spend time with his family in Spain last weekend, Silva will return to the City lineup to face the Terriers. The midfield maestro is often overshadowed by the star players alongside him, however, he is the conduit through which City’s football flows. A goal against Swansea in his last appearance took him to 9 league strikes this season which is a healthy return for a deep-lying 32-year-old, especially considering his 11 assists to bolster this figure.
While Silva is losing the speed and stamina necessary to play the orchestrator’s role, Aaron Mooy has the energy levels to expose this marginal weakness. The ex-City player has crept back into good form after a quiet start to 2018, however, he was instrumental to Huddersfield’s early successes this season. With Huddersfield requiring one final push to get them over the relegation zone boundary, Mooy is the player upon which most their hopes rest.
With two trophies tucked in their bag, City continue their stroll towards their summer break looking to pick up more records along the way. Needing 7 points from the available 9 to be the first-ever team to break 100 points in the English top-flight, they only require one more win to set a new Premier League record.
With three fixtures remaining they’re also close to setting a new high in the number of wins, a record they share with Chelsea on 30 from a 38-game season and another goal will also tip them onto a parity with the current Premier League record of 103 goals scored.
The question now appears to be when rather than if they can set a collection of new standards. Playing a Huddersfield side who have 35 points, 27 goals and 9 league wins this season, these figures certainly suggest City far out-gun their opponents this weekend, however, if football was that straight-forward then nobody would watch the games.
Goals win games
Huddersfield’s lack of firepower is a huge concern for them at present. What’s even more concerning is it’s also a problem which has afflicted many sides to have previously suffered relegation too. While they have scored fewer goals than any other side in the league this season, they’ve additionally failed to score in more matches (19) than they’ve scored in throughout this campaign.
While defeats to both Stoke and Swansea on Saturday have helped them keep some distance from the relegation zone, the fact that West Brom won and a 10-men Southampton almost clinched victory but for a last-gasp goal will mean they need to are likely to need one more win to assure themselves of top-flight football next season, something which can’t happen without scoring goals.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Huddersfield Town
While Wagner may opt for an exercise in damage-limitation from this match to prevent losing the small advantage they hold through goal difference, this is a dangerous tactic to use against City. The home side have been in scintillating form over the last few weeks and will have the nous to break down a Huddersfield side who have only recorded 2 clean sheets from their previous 14 league matches.
(Photo Credit: Reuters/David Klein)