Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town

Manchester City’s curtain-raising FA Cup fixture pits them against Championship underachievers Huddersfield Town at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City’s FA Cup title defense starts in the midst of a purple patch. Fresh off lifting their first FIFA Club World Cup title, Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side won back-to-back Premier League matches toward the end of 2023, overcoming Everton and Sheffield United by a two-goal margin. Guardiola, who boasts a telling six-game unbeaten H2H record versus Huddersfield (W4, D2), encompassing a 5-1 demolition in the FA Cup, could rotate his squad despite the Premier League break. The Spaniard would appreciate a more resilient defensive performance for a change after the ‘Citizens’ failed to keep a clean sheet in nine of their last ten matches outside the Club World Cup (W5, D4, L1). Huddersfield could be a perfect victim, considering Man City have shut out the ‘Terriers’ twice in their three most recent H2Hs (W2, D1).

On the other hand, Huddersfield’s dreaded battle against relegation continued at the start of the new calendar year as a thumping 4-1 defeat at Championship leaders Leicester City left them only three points clear of 22nd-placed Sheffield Wednesday. In fact, the ‘Terriers’ have lost three of their last four league outings (W1), ominously conceding 2+ goals in each loss. Speaking of Huddersfield’s substantial defensive issues, they’ve capitulated three times per game on eight occasions in 2023/24, suggesting Man City’s free-flowing frontline could have a field day. Since City humbled them 6-1 the last time they visited the Etihad, it’s hard to put it past the home side to pack a punch this weekend. Adding to this sentiment, they’ve lost back-to-back away games in the build-up to this trip via multi-goal margins

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