Phil Foden makes his first Premier League start as Pep Guardiola makes seven changes from the side that beat Fulham at the weekend.
Danilo, Leroy Sane, John Stones, Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus also return, with Sergio Aguero (injured), Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Bernardo and Raheem Sterling all making way.
Vincent Kompany returns on what could be City’s strongest bench ever.
Ederson, Danilo, Zinchenko, Stones, Laporte, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Foden, Sane, Mahrez, Jesus
Subs: Muric, Walker, Kompany, Sterling, Bernardo, D Silva, Gundogan
Relentless City must steam on
Any team that wins 19 out of 20 games would be forgiven for the occasional off-day, but such is the Blues’ relentless schedule and pursuit of silverware that even if the team isn’t at their best, the end result still needs to be a win.
Fortunately, the players seem to be relishing a challenge that many have said is impossible.
The game-by-game mentality, the ‘every game is a cup final’ attitude and Pep Guardiola’s careful managing of this unique situation gives the Blues the best possible chance of achieving some or all of the goals set.
Cardiff are an honest, hard-working outfit shaped in the image of their manager and while many pundits have written off their chances in this fixture, Warnock knows that – as with the Crystal Palace fixture- if his team take all their chances and the Blues aren’t quite at the races, anything can happen.
And that is something City will be well aware of.
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Another chance to pile pressure on Liverpool
City know three points this evening puts the champions back in the box-seat with one game less to play.
With each passing match, the prize grows ever closer with the finishing line tantalisingly close.
It’s fair to say both City and Liverpool are willing each other to slip-up and gain a vital bit of breathing space on the run-in.
If the Blues can see off Cardiff, Liverpool will need to beat Southampton on Friday night to return to pole position.
That’s what every City fan will be hoping happens.
Stats and milestones
The Bluebirds haven’t beaten City away from home since 1961, losing 11 and drawing eight of their following visits.
Worryingly for the visitors, City have scored at least four goals in the last four top division meetings, though last season’s FA Cup tie at the Cardiff City Stadium ended 2-0 to the Blues.
In all 14 top flight meetings in Manchester, both teams have scored at least one goal.
City’s incredible form since back-to-back losses to Palace and Leicester has resulted in 19 wins out of 20 games.
The Bluebirds have lost all 10 meetings against established top six sides this season.
Neil Warnock’s men are very much a second-half team having scored 18 of their last 22 goals after half-time.
With 53 goals scored to date, City are the division’s top scorers at home in the Premier League.
Neil Warnock has won just one of 11 meetings with City during his managerial career – a 1-0 win with Sheffield United in 2000.