Tonight sees a trip to the reigning Champions and current Premier League leaders for our final scheduled midweek fixture of the campaign. The reverse fixture between the two in December ended in a narrow 1-0 win for Manchester City but what will tonight hold? Check out our match preview below for all the build-up.
Manchester City have only played three league games since our late December encounter but those outings have brought another seven points and a firmer grip on top spot.
Following their 1-0 win in TW8, they beat Arsenal 2-1 thanks to a 90th-minute Rodri goal and then secured a huge three points at home to title-rivals Chelsea. They did slip up slightly last time out with a 1-1 draw at Southampton but they retain a nine-point advantage over Liverpool, albeit having played a game more.
In the midst of those Premier League games there were also two 4-1 Emirates FA Cup wins over lower-division opposition in Swindon Town and Fulham.
In total, City have won 16 of their last 18 games in all competitions and are unbeaten in 15 domestic matches, scoring 43 and conceding ten in that run.
Pep Guardiola's side have done all this without a recognised central striker. This has seen the goals shared around with Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling (seven each) leading their scoring charts ahead of Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne (pictured above) on six.
City have seen more possession per game, 67.3%, and have a higher pass completion rate, 89.9%, than anyone else in the league. Indeed, the top four Premier League players in terms of completed passes this season all play for City in Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, and Rodri.
When asked for Hot Off The Press who we should most look out for tonight, Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News, said: "Probably Joao Cancelo (above), at the minute. Cancelo is just an unstoppable machine. He plays every game on the right or the left and few opposition teams have been able to stop him creating chances. He has also been much better at his defensive work, though he was caught out at Southampton and he was caught out against Fulham in the FA Cup. He will pose a threat to Brentford, but equally, that might be the side Brentford want to target if they are looking for some joy against City"
Bryan Mbeumo and Wissa (Covid-19) are both available for selection tonight while Saturday saw Josh Dasilva and David Raya make their long-awaited injury returns. Thomas confirmed on Tuesday that David will start in goal but Christian Eriksen is not fit to feature following his arrival in TW8 earlier this week. Also out are Tariqe Fosu, Zanka (both hamstring), and Julian Jeanvier (knee).
For Manchester City, Cole Palmer and Gabriel Jesus will be their only absentees tonight.
The phrase 'has won it all' might have been invented for Pep Guardiola. The 50-year-old has collected nine league titles, 12 domestic cups, two Champions Leagues, two FIFA Club World Cups, and three UEFA Super Cups since taking up management with Barcelona in 2008.
His first season in charge ended with Barca becoming the first Spanish side to win the treble of La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and Champions League; Guardiola, in the process, also became the youngest man to win the Champions League as a manager. In 2011, after leading the club to another La Liga and Champions League double, Guardiola was awarded the Catalan Parliament's Gold Medal, their highest honour. The same year, he was also named the FIFA World Coach of the Year. He ended his four-year Barcelona stint in 2012 with 14 honours, a club record.
After a sabbatical period, Bayern Munich announced Guardiola would join the club as manager in 2013. Guardiola won the Bundesliga every season he was there, as well as two domestic doubles. He left the Bavarians for Manchester City in 2016, and guided them to a Premier League title in his second campaign in charge, breaking numerous records as the team became the first to pass 100 league points. He won a second consecutive Premier League and EFL Cup the following season, as well as the FA Cup, becoming the first manager to win the domestic treble in English men's football.
He also holds the records for the most consecutive league games won in La Liga, the Bundesliga, and the Premier League.
All this came after a decorated playing career spent predominantly at the Nou Camp. The defensive midfielder was part of the team that won Barca's first European Cup in 1992, and four successive Spanish league titles from 1991 to 1994. He later captained the team from 1997, winning two more La Liga titles, until his departure in 2001. Guardiola then had stints with Brescia and Roma in Italy, Al-Ahli in Qatar, and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico. He was capped 47 times for the Spanish national team and appeared at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as well as at UEFA Euro 2000.
LAST TIME OUT
Referee: Darren England
Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley
Video Assistant Referee: Jon Moss
Additional Video Assistant Referee: Neil Davies
Manchester City 2021/22
200 fouls - 16th in Premier League
30 yellow cards - 16th in Premier League
1 red cards - 7th in Premier League
The Etihad is a cashless stadium. All payments inside and outside the stadium will be contactless and cash will not be accepted.
Backpacks, holdalls, rucksacks, or other similar items of any size, large or small, will not be allowed into the stadium. Small handheld bags, no larger than A4 size (12”x8”x3”) will be accepted. If you must bring a bag to the stadium that exceeds the allowable size, bag drop facilities that you can use to securely store your items will be in place until the match has finished. The bag drop will be priced at £10.
Our Guide to The Etihad
HOW TO FOLLOW
Tonight's game is live on BT Sport 2, coverage starts at 7.15pm. For fans around the world, the game is being shown live through the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if the game is on where you are.
Mark Burridge will also be bringing live commentary from The Etihad on Bees Player. He will be joined by Ben Burgess.
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