Cardiff City v Manchester City Saturday 22 September, 15:00
Cardiff struggling with Premier League pace
Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock has carved out a deserved reputation as a promotion specialist, taking teams up a level on eight separate occasions. He has been an incredible motivator, a coach who can improve and inspire players, and you can't achieve what he has without having tactical acumen.
However, keeping this Cardiff City squad in the Premier League is arguably the greatest challenge he has ever faced, and last weekend's 4-1 defeat at Chelsea underlined the scale of the task ahead. Cardiff took the lead at Stamford Bridge, and although they were competitive for much of the contest, they were ultimately undone by a mix of pace and skill.
Cardiff have taken just two points from their first five league matches, and alarmingly their two draws were against teams who are currently below them in the standings. You can accept getting duffed up by the big boys, but you need to win the games against fellow strugglers if you are to survive.
City bruised after Lyon defeat
One thing we learned from this week's Champions League action is that Lyon don't read scripts. The French side were supposed to go to Manchester City and accept a stylish beating, but the truth was somewhat different, as they punished City for an error-strewn performance. Pep Guardiola, banned after a meltdown during the Champions League exit to Liverpool last term, watched in horror from the stands as his team fluffed their lines time and time again.
Of course, this doesn't suddenly mean that City are in decline, or that Guardiola needs to press the tactical reset button. His team just had an off night against a technically-gifted and energetic side. Overall, City's season is going well. They are just two points behind Chelsea and Liverpool in the title race, they have racked up 14 goals in five league games, and they have so far been able to mitigate the absence of creative heartbeat Kevin De Bruyne.
Bernardo Silva has really stepped up with some sparkling displays, leading Guardiola to eulogise about the Portuguese playmaker in a recent press conference. In attack, Sergio Aguero could return to lead the line, after Gabriel Jesus got the nod ahead of him on Wednesday.
Champions to cruise to victory
The Opta stats tell us that Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 21 matches against newly-promoted sides, and they have won 16 of those. It's hard to see past a Man City win here - they'll be wounded by that defeat to Lyon, and could well take their frustration out on the Bluebirds. Intriguingly, Warnock has lost all six of his league meetings with reigning top-flight champions, and hasn't even overseen a goal from one of his teams in these fixtures.
The visitors are a prohibitive 1.18to win, but you could back them -2.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.17], which means a three-goal victory would secure you an odds-against winner.
Leaky hosts to contribute to goalfest
Cardiff have conceded three goals against Arsenal, and four against Chelsea, and it's hard to see them being able to resist the champions for long. Cardiff's last three games in all competitions have featured at least four goals, and I can see that sequence being extended.
You can back Over 3.5 Goals at 2.08 on the Exchange, but at time of writing, it's available at 6/5 on the Sportsbook.
Bernardo can continue excellent form
Keep an eye on the team news, but Bernardo Silva is certainly worth a look in the To Score market on the Sportsbook at 8/5. He scored against Lyon in midweek, and found the net at Arsenal on the opening weekend of the league season.
If you fancy using the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi feature to build your own acca, you could back a City win, Over 3.5 Goals and Bernardo Silva to score at combined odds of 4.63.
Back Over 3.5 Goals at 6/5 on the Sportsbook
Back Bernardo Silva to score at 8/5 on the Sportsbook (if he starts)