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Cardiff City-Manchester City Preview
As Manchester City look to move back atop the Premier League table, they might be without their offensive leader for a mid-week clash.
Sergio Aguero might not be fit when City look to regain the top spot in the league with an eighth straight top-flight victory Wednesday night against reeling Cardiff City at the Etihad.
Aguero assisted on Bernardo Silva's goal in the fifth minute and was the beneficiary after Silva returned the favor on 27 minutes in the Citizens' 2-0 win at Fulham on Saturday. However, Aguero picked up a knock and limped off the pitch in the 57th minute.
He reportedly did not train Sunday and his status, along with the severity of his injury, for Wednesday's game is uncertain.
Whilst any long-term injury to Aguero, who leads the league with 19 goals, could prove devastating to City's chance of possibly winning four titles (Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League) in 2018-19, the club should be able to handle themselves well for the time being.
Manchester City (25-2-4), who sit two points back of first-place Liverpool with a game in hand, benefited from the Saturday returns of fellow stars Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne from hamstring injuries. Though the Citizens play again this weekend versus Brighton & Hove Albion in the semifinal of the FA Cup, no team in the league is deeper than Pep Guardiola's side.
The gaffer mentioned that his lineup for this contest will look different than what was on the pitch at Fulham. However, the focus and drive should not change with the personnel.
"What's next is Cardiff, prepare well and go like a machine to win, to play, and try to win," Guardiola told City's official website. "I think mentally, the (players) are ready."
Theoretically, Man City should not have any trouble with Cardiff (8-4-19), who put up little resistance during a 5-0 home loss at Wales during the reverse fixture on Sept. 22. Aguero scored, Silva and Ilkay Gundogan each had a goal with an assist and Riyad Mahrez recorded a brace in the rout.
Meanwhile, the Bluebirds' chances of avoiding relegation took a major hit with Sunday's 2-1 home loss to Chelsea. Victor Camarasa's goal in the 46th minute gave Cardiff a 1-0 lead they held until Cesar Azpilicueta equalised in the 84th. Then, even a single point was snatched away from the hosts following Ruben Loftus-Cheek's eventual winner in the first minute of stoppage time.
It was the fourth loss in five matches for Cardiff, who sit atop of the drop zone, some five points clear of safety. The defeat also left manager Neil Warnock livid with the match officiating, and could see him receive possible punishment from the FA for staring down the officials after the game and his post-match comments.
"I'm proud of my players," Warnock, who felt two penalties could have been called in his team's favor and that Azpilicueta was offside, told Cardiff's official website. "I felt we got let down by the game officials. When you don't win the game because of nothing to do with yourself, it really is a kick in the teeth."
He also added, as reported by Sky Sports: "It's the best league in the world with probably the worst officials at the minute."
Updated April 1, 2019