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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, January 23rd 2018

Big Match Preview: Manchester City home (Carabao Cup SFL2)

Manchester City bring a slender 2-1 lead to Ashton Gate for the decisive second leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final (7.45pm kick-off).

Bobby Reid's penalty was cancelled out by second-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero at the Etihad Stadium, two weeks ago.

But Lee Johnson's City are far from out of the tie and will be hoping their home advantage can help them overcome what is arguably the best team in England right now.

Can they secure their spot at Wembley in what would be the club's first major cup final since 1909?

FACTFILE

Formed: 1880 (re-established as Manchester City in 1894).
Nickname: City, Citizens, Sky Blues 
Website: www.mancity.com
Twitter: @ManCity
Ground: Etihad Stadium
Capacity: 55,097

Honours:
Football League First Division / Premier League:  1936/37, 1967/68, 2011/12, 2013/14
Football League Second Division / Championship: 1898/99, 1902/03, 1909/10, 1927/28, 1946/47, 1965/66, 2001/02
FA Cup: 1904, 1934, 1956, 1969, 2011
League Cup: 1970, 1976, 2014, 2016
FA Charity Shield: 1937, 1968, 1972, 2012
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1970

Last season:
League finish: 3rd
FA Cup: Semi-final, lost to Arsenal
EFL Cup: Fourth round, lost to Manchester United
Top scorer: Sergio Aguero, 33 goals
Average attendance: 54,019

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

High-flying Manchester City, one of the most successful sides of the modern era, take on City having lost just two of their 32 matches played so far this season.

Only until they met Liverpool earlier in January were they on course to match Arsenal's 2003/04 achievement of going an entire league campaign unbeaten.

They turn attentions away from the league tonight against a Bristol City side which has already overcome four Premier League sides this season.

Manchester City's route to the Carabao Cup semi-finals has included victories over West Brom (2-1), Wolves (0-0, 4-1 on penalties) and Leicester City (1-1, 4-3 on penalties).

Can Pep Guardiola conquer the top league in England?

MEET THE GAFFER: PEP GUARDIOLA

He did it all with European giants Barcelona and Bayern Munich but can he crack the Premier League with Manchester City?

Considering the way he has led the Citizens to the top of the league this year suggests he can.

Former defensive midfielder Guardiola, considered one of the best players of his generation, entered management in 2007; two years after he retired from the sport.

He spent five, title-filled years with Barcelona, which included back-to-back La Liga trophies, lifting the Copa Del Rey and UEFA Champions League titles.

He followed this up with three seasons at Bayern Munich, where he won a trio of Bundesliga trophies, the UEFA Super Cup and added another FIFA Club World Cup title to his collection.

It's no wonder he has achieved numerous personal accolades, including European and domestic Coach of the Year awards as well as the FIFA World Coach of the Year gong.

He endured a trophyless campaign in 2016/17 - his first season in English football - but has taken each competition by storm this year. Can he go an entire league campaign without defeat? What about the quadruple? Not if Lee Johnson has anything to say about it.

One to watch: Kevin De Bruyne

STAR MAN: KEVIN DE BRUYNE

While City ooze world-class talent in abundance, Kevin De Bruyne is one man who certainly pulls the City strings.

The Belgian international was influential in the home tie and it was his strike which helped the home side defeat the Robins a fortnight ago.

He has proved himself a dangerman time and time again, whether that be inside or outside the box and he's more than happy to find the net himself or set up others.

In fact, De Bruyne has six Premier League goals to his name as well as a joint-league best of ten assists (alongside teammate Leroy Sane!).

Jamie Paterson tries to keep the ball in play ahead of Manchester City keeper Bravo.

The SEMI-FINAL FIRST LEG

Etihad Stadium - Tuesday, January 9th 2018
Bristol City 1-2 Manchester City
Goals: Reid 44(p); De Bruyne 55, Aguero 92.

Bristol City are far from done in their Carabao Cup semi-final, despite a Sergio Aguero goal at the death in the first-leg clash against Manchester City.

The Robins went head to head with their Premier League opponents at the Etihad Stadium and were in dreamland at the end of the first half.

Bobby Reid scored from the spot - an away goal for Lee Johnson’s side - after he was fouled by John Stones, while Kevin De Bruyne rifled the home side level not long into the second half.

The Robins performed valiantly but Aguero’s last-gasp header completed the 2-1 scoreline.

City: Fielding, Wright, Baker, Flint, Magnusson (Walsh 72), Brownhill, Smith, Pack, Bryan, Paterson, Reid. Subs not used: Steele, Vyner, Eliasson, Kelly, Taylor, Engvall.

Man City: Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Mangala, Zinchenko (Walker 79), De Bruyne, Toure (Aguero 70), Gundogan, Silva, Sterling, Sane. Subs not used: Ederson, Delph, Adarabioyo, Fernandinho, Diaz.

Attendance: 43,426 (7,680 away).

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistant referees: Richard West and Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

Betting (via Sky Bet)
Bristol City: 11/1
Draw: 5/1
Man City: 1/4