Manchester City-Cardiff City Preview

Perhaps the best way for Manchester City to move on from a stunning defeat in their Champions League opener is take that frustration out on a Premier League newcomer.

The Citizens have the chance to do just that Saturday when they shift their focus to the top-flight with a stop in Wales to take on winless Cardiff City.

In a rather shocking result, the reigning Premier League title holders fell 2-1 to Lyon at home Wednesday to open Group F play in the Champions League. Tabbed by some as Champions League favourites, City looked out of sorts at times and often lackadaisical against the French side, who managed to frustrate the hosts most of the evening.

Manchester City (4-1-0), who recorded 23 total shots and kept 64 percent possession, trailed 2-0 after 43 minutes and could generate only Bernardo Silva's goal in the 67th minute. The offensive performance was a far cry from the club who's tied for most top-flight goals with 14.

"It is what it is," Silva told City's official website. "We put pressure on ourselves. There is no outside pressure. We know our strengths and weaknesses."

Manager Pep Guardiola watched the capitulation from a suite while serving a one-match touchline ban stemming from last season's Champions tournament. He was obviously none too pleased with the effort. According to reports out of England, the City boss also has not been thrilled with his team's general performance within the Premier League, even though they sit third in the table and are one of three sides without a top-flight defeat.

It would seem likely that unbeaten run will continue this weekend against newly promoted Cardiff (0-2-3).

"Manchester City are champions for a reason, but we're going to go out there and enjoy ourselves and try to win the game, even though we know how difficult it will be," Cardiff defender Sol Bamba told the club's official website.

The Bluebirds are just outside of the relegation zone thanks to goal differential, but are one of four Premier League teams yet to taste victory in 2018-19. After failing to score in their first three league contests, Cardiff have three goals in the last two - but also have conceded seven in those losses to Arsenal and Chelsea.

Bamba actually got Cardiff on the board first last weekend at Stamford Bridge with a goal in the 16th minute. However, a hat trick from Eden Hazard and some insurance from Willian gave Chelsea the resounding 4-1 victory over the Bluebirds.

Despite another poor result, Bamba and Co. continue to take the high road when it comes to Cardiff's overall competition level. They believe, at least in public, that they're capable of going toe-to-toe with the best in the Premier League.

"Our performance has been good," Bamba said. "We've been playing against top quality opponents which is always going to be difficult. "We'll take the positives (from the Chelsea match) and try to play in a similar way against Manchester City."

Though these sides have not squared off in the Premier League since 2013-14, they did meet in January as part of FA Cup play. Currently sidelined star Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling each scored first-half goals during City's 2-0 victory in Wales.

Updated September 20, 2018

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