Sunday 25th August 2013 | Cardiff City Stadium | Kick-off 16:00
Tickets: Home tickets sold out. Some away end tickets available from £40. Call the Box Office for details on 0161 444 1894.
Last Season: n/a
Match Officials: Referee: Lee Probert. Assistants: R Ganfield, R West. Fourth Official: L Mason.
CITY – Vincent Kompany (groin) will not travel to the Welsh capital and Pellegrini has suggested that his captain could be out for a month. Matija Nastasic has returned to training this week, the Cardiff match is likely to come too soon for him. That leaves Micah Richards and Javi Garcia in contention to replace Kompany, although the former is nursing a knock, so Dedryck Boyata could be involved. New striker Stevan Jovetic is likely to be in contention after a minor hamstring problem ruled him out of the opening-day win.
City (from): Hart, Pantilimon, Wright, Boyata, Clichy, Kolarov, Lescott, Nastasic, Richards, Zabaleta, Barry, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner, Nasri, Navas, Razak, Rodwell, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Dzeko, Guidetti, Jovetic, Negredo.
CARDIFF – Cardiff have a fully fit squad to choose from after Andrew Taylor completed a ban and Andreas Cornelius returned to full training this week following an ankle injury.
Cardiff City (from): Lewis, Marshall, Moore, Brayford, Caulker, Connolly, Hudson, Lappin, McNaughton, Taylor, Turner, Conway, Cowie, Gunnarsson, Kim, Kiss, Medel, Mutch, Noone, Whittingham, Bellamy, Campbell, Cornelius, Gestede, Mason, Maynard, Smith, Velikonja.
Cardiff City’s first game in the Premier League ended in a 2-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend, and they’ll have to pull out a special performance to get a result against Manchester City, who swept aside Newcastle 4-0 in their first fixture.
If Cardiff are going to threaten then midfielder Peter Whittingham may be the one to surprise City. Whittingham had four efforts at goal against West Ham, a total bettered only by Frank Lampard among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s midfielders. Although all 4 were off target, so Whittingham will want to pair the willingness to shoot with greater accuracy against a City team who don’t give away chances cheaply.
The signing of Spurs defender Steven Caulker will boost Cardiff fans. Caulker had limited opportunities at Spurs last season but when he did play he impressed. Of all players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have attempted 25 or more tackles, Caulker won the fifth highest percentage with 82.7%.
That’s no fluke either, as the previous season on loan at Swansea Caulker won 75.6% of the 33 tackles he attempted, while also making 117 interceptions, 33 blocks and 39 clearances.
Despite not scoring himself Edin Dzeko was on dangerous form with two assists and eights shots at goal, the most by any player in the opening round of fixtures. Dzeko got four of his eight attempts on target to again top the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for shots on target.
David Silva also looked in imperious form, and was one of four players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to complete more than 50 passes in the opposition half in the first round of games.
City had two of the top four players in the Premier League for passes completed in opposition territory last season. Yaya Toure was ranked second, having completed 1301 passes in the attacking half, and David Silva fourth with 1150.
City showed they also have quality in defence, with Pablo Zabaleta winning all six of the tackles he attempted against Newcastle.
If Sergio Aguero scores against Cardiff he will move to joint 2nd with Nicolas Anelka in the PL goalscoring charts for City with 37 goals.
City won just one of their three Premier League away games at newly-promoted sides last term; losing at Southampton (1-3) and drawing at West Ham (0-0).
City have only won four of their 9 away league games in 2013 (v Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Reading), a win this weekend would be their 86th in the Premier League era.
City have failed to score in their previous two Premier League fixtures in Wales and have only taken one point from the two games (both v Swansea City).
Stats courtesy of Stat City
Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that Vincent Kompany could be out for up to a month in his pre-match press conference. He also warned City not to underestimate Cardiff on Sunday.
Watch the press conference in the below video:
Kick off is 15.00 unless stated
Fulham v Arsenal 12:45
Everton v West Brom
Hull v Norwich
Newcastle v West Ham
Southampton v Sunderland
Stoke v Crystal Palace
Tottenham v Swansea 16:00
Man Utd v Chelsea 20:00
Written and compiled by Robert Toole