The Carabao Cup has reached the Semi Final stage of the competition and tonight sees the first of two semi final clashes take place, not only that it is the first of two, two legged encounters as the all conquering Manchester City play host to EFL Championship outfit Bristol City.
Bristol City have already claimed one Manchester scalp this season and that came as recently as the previous round when Lee Johnson’s men earned a historic win over Jose Morurinho’s all-star outfit at Ashton Gate, thanks to a 2-1 win.
Tonight though they will have their work cut out as they aim to go toe to toe with Pep Guardiola’s footballing juggernaut, perhaps going toe to toe with Manchester City at the Etihad could be deemed slightly suicidal especially with this being a two legged affair.
The hope and perhaps the expectation will be to make sure that Bristol City are still in the tie once the second leg reverts to Ashton Gate, the last thing they want to be in is taking part in a dead rubber after suffering a heavy defeat this evening.
So perhaps it will be more about containment then victory tonight, to then give them the best possible opportunity of completing a Manchester double in the second leg. however that is something that is easier said then done what with the Premier League leaders brushing past all that has gone before them this season.
They were handed a small scare on Saturday when they went behind to Burnley in the F.A. Cup, Ashley Barnes’ first half strike did allow some to think that there could well be a huge upset on the cards, but they then went up through the gears to eventually run out 4-1 winners.
At present it does not seem to matter who get in Manchester City’s way they will end up being crushed, so what in a sense would be a good result for Bristol City this evening? Obviously a win or a draw would be great but if they can keep defeat to just a goal then it would set the return tie up very nicely indeed.
For Bristol City they stand in the way of Manchester City’s dream of winning the quadruple and although Pep Guardiola is on record by saying that he does not think his team can do it, there is no doubting the burning desire in which to achieve it.
You get the feeling that the only thing stopping Manchester City is the club themselves, just how can they compete on all four fronts, this competition ends next month so there is every chance that they may get this one in the bag as Guardiola’s first piece of silverware for the club.
It may well then be that the trio of Premier League, Champions League and F.A. Cup battles is what finally trips this club but they are undoubtedly clear favourites not just to win tonight but to win the trophy outright and if everything clicks then Lee Johnson’s men could be in for a long night.
Manchester City may well be without Gabriel Jesus for the next month or so but when you have Sergio Aguero at your disposal then the blow can be softened very easily, the question now is whether or not they manage to purchase Alexis Sanchez this month for their multiple trophy charge.
Without doing Bristol City a disservice it is going to be incredibly hard for them to pick up a win tonight, not impossible though but it would truly be an upset if they could win away from home, even then the job is only half done. Home win for me this evening.