Two sides with very different ambitions for this Premier League campaign meet at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City, who sit in second place, entertain bottom of the table Reading. If ever a match looks like being a home banker – then this is certainly it. Reading have not won on their travels this season and City have only lost at home to Manchester United, so the omens are not good for the Royals.
If this Premier League season has taught us anything though, it is to never right a team off, although if Reading take something here, it would go down as the shock of the season. Brian McDermott knows that matches against teams such as Man City will not determine whether his side beat the drop this term of not, but he will be wary of being on the wrong end of a hiding.
Roberto Mancini’s men put in arguably their best performance of the season last time out as well as they beat Newcastle United 3-1 at St James’ Park. They played excellent football throughout the 90 minutes and could be coming into some much needed form at the perfect time.
The Citizens will be expecting a comfortable afternoon here and in truth, they should be improving their goal-difference by a considerable margin if they are anywhere near the best. This is the Premier League though, and you cannot afford to be the slightest bit complacent. City have had to come from behind at home to the likes Queens Park Rangers and Southampton this campaign and Mancini will be looking to avoid that happening again this time out.
Because this game involves Reading, you can expect there to be goals as the club from Berkshire are capable of scoring a few, but have a defence that are leaking goals left, right and centre right now. If City get a couple early on, the floodgates might open and McDermott could be left on the touchline wondering what he has to do to get his men out of trouble.
It does make for a very interesting watch between two sides that are in different spirits at the moment. You can never accuse Reading of not giving in their all though and this should be the type of game the players are relishing.
City will be seeing it as another day at the office though and want to make light work of their opponents as we head into a massive week of Premier League action.