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Premier League

  • January 18, 2014
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 47213
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Premier League Preview: Manchester City - Cardiff

Premier League Preview: Manchester City - Cardiff

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The Etihad Stadium outfit has netted 99 times this season, and, with fit-again Sergio Aguero available once more, will be hopeful of maintaining its imperious home form.

Manchester City has a remarkable milestone in sight as Manuel Pellegrini's men eye their 100th goal of the season when Cardiff City visits on Saturday.

The 5-0 hammering of Blackburn Rovers in Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay took the 2011-12 Premier League champion to 99 goals in all competitions.

Cardiff faces a huge task to stem the flow of goals at the Etihad, where the home team has netted 38 times in 10 league matches, all of which have ended in victory for Pellegrini's charges.

Cardiff's return of six points from 10 away matches will bring the club little cause for optimism on Saturday.

However, the Welsh outfit does not have to think back too far to find inspiration ahead of what promises to be arguably the team's toughest top-flight challenge since earning promotion last season, having beaten this weekend's opponent 3-2 on home soil in August.

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That was Cardiff's first Premier League victory, but only three have followed since, with manager Malky Mackay paying the price and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now in his place.

While the Norwegian's tenure began with a promising 2-1 FA Cup triumph over Newcastle United, his first league match saw a 2-0 loss to an out-of-form West Ham team last Saturday.

Manchester City is competing at the opposite end of the table and still harbor hopes of completing an unprecedented quadruple, with Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup honors up for grabs.

The title race is likely to be Pellegrini's top priority and the Chilean has guided his side to six consecutive league triumphs as part of a 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Pellegrini was also boosted by the return of striker Sergio Aguero against Blackburn, with the Argentine scoring within 50 seconds of his introduction from the bench after recovering from a calf injury.

Squad depth is one of Manchester City's key strengths but the club is not without its injury problems.

Midfielder Samir Nasri, an ever-present in the league, suffered a knee injury in the 2-0 victory over Newcastle last Sunday will be out for six to eight weeks, while Jack Rodwell and Stevan Jovetic (both hamstring) are also ruled out.

Yaya Toure was rested in midweek as he continues to nurse a back problem, but is set to return to the squad, while David Silva will also be in contention after being left out against Blackburn having picked up an unspecified knock.

Solskjaer has very few injury or suspension concerns, but Cardiff's form will have been occupying his thoughts.

A run of one win from 11 Premier League fixtures has dragged Cardiff into a relegation dogfight and the club has failed to score in three of its last four league outings.

Jordon Mutch, the club's joint top scorer on four league goals, has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem, but could come back into the reckoning.

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