How will Huddersfield Town react to losing their manager? Can the Blues continue to score for fun? Here are some topics for discussion ahead of Sunday’s game…
1 Terriers’ first game post-Wagner
David Wagner’s dignified exit from Huddersfield Town was deemed the best option for the club by the German.
Wagner knows the odds are stacked against the Terriers surviving this campaign and probably felt he’d taken his players as far as he could.
But for a bizarre last-minute penalty reversal at Cardiff last weekend, Wagner might have still been at the helm for this game, but having awarded Huddersfield a spot-kick, referee Lee Mason changed his mind following a discussion with his assistant.
That kind of luck probably led to Wagner thinking that nothing was going to go his way.
Coach Mark Hudson will take the reins for Sunday’s game and, with technically a free-hit against the Blues, he may try one or two new ideas to try and give the champions something to think about.
2 Blues look to continue goal blitz
No matter how respectful City will be towards Huddersfield, pundits and bookies will make the Blues strong favourites to head back over the Pennines with all three points on Sunday.
Not that Pep Guardiola, his coaches and his players will treat this game any differently from any other Premier League fixture.
But the task facing the Terriers is a difficult one.
The South Yorkshire side have managed just five goals at home all season and eight more on the road – it’s a sobering thought that they will be up against a team who have scored five more goals in their last three games than Huddersfield have managed all season in the league.
3 Blues know Terriers can bite
City and Huddersfield Town have met five times since February 2017 and on three occasions have been pushed all the way.
The first clash was a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup that could have gone either way and though City won the replay 5-1, the next meeting, nine months later in the Premier League, was an even stiffer test for Pep’s side.
A Nicolas Otamendi own goal gave Huddersfield the lead at the John Smith’s Stadium on half-time, before Sergio Aguero levelled from the spot two minutes after the re-start.
The Terriers more than held their own and only a slightly fortuitous Raheem Sterling winner on 84 minutes settled the game late on.
The next meeting was at the Etihad and Huddersfield Town became the only visiting team to stop the Blues scoring in the Premier League as they held out for a 0-0 draw against the newly-crowned champions.
Earlier this campaign, City coasted to a 6-1 win in the Premier League – but if the managerless Terriers can lift themselves and get the home crowd behind them from the word go, this could be another tricky 90 minutes for the Blues.
4 Relentless momentum must continue
City know that there is no room for any slip-ups while Liverpool still hold a four-point advantage.
The Reds play Crystal Palace on Saturday – a team City were beaten by before Christmas – and the Blues could start Sunday’s game seven points adrift.
The test for Liverpool could be at the end of this month when, if the situation remains the same after this weekend, City play Newcastle 24 hours before Liverpool play Leicester City.
If Jurgen Klopp’s side went into that game just one point ahead of City, the pressure would crank up another notch.
So, Sunday’s game is crucial – as is our trip to St James’ Park on 29 January – and the champions must keep their foot on the gas in order to hunt down Liverpool’s lead.
Don’t forget, you can get minute-by-minute updates of Sunday’s game at Huddersfield via our Matchday Centre right here on mancity.com.