West Brom vs Manchester City Preview: Guardiola looking to get back on track

It's been six games since Pep Guardiola's City outfit has won a game, with a visit to The Hawthorns next on the agenda can 'The Sky Blues' end this bad run of form?

West Brom vs Manchester City Preview: Guardiola looking to get back on track
Match Preview: Guardiola looking to get back on track (Photo Source: Michael Regan via Getty Images)

Saturday afternoon sees the meeting of two complete opposites in management style - potentially the biggest contrasts of characters the Premier League has ever seen. Pep Guardiola with his philosophical ideas and perfectionist attitude up against the back-to-basics, tracksuit-wearing Tony Pulis whose simplistic training ground approach has earned him veteran status in English football. 

Team News

Manchester City

The injured Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta leave Guardiola without any senior right-backs but the Catalan is comfortable in reverting to a three-back formation and Pablo Maffeo's midweek performance can give him confidence to trust his academy graduate. 

Belgian pairing Kevin de Bruyne and Vincent Kompany have slight fitness doubts over featuring this weekend but positives signs did show when they were both involved in training ahead of the game. Fabian Delph's return is still unknown, the Englishman remains on the side-lines with a muscle injury. 

West Brom

Pulis is the most blessed manager in the league currently in terms of injuries. Only James McClean is of any doubt to be fit for the clash this Saturday - the ROI winger will face a late fitness test to see if his leg laceration will keep him out of action or not. 

What are they saying?

After recently reaching 1000 games in management, Pulis was happy to extend his contract a further year at West Brom and is already pushing for improvement. "The football club has got to be pushing for the top 10 in a framework that's not ridiculous," he said. In terms of this weekend's game, Pulis has remained coy over his team selection: "We've got one or two knocks and niggles that we won't be sure about tomorrow, but I don't want to say any names."

Guardiola kicked off his press conference to commend his opposing boss this weekend: "Congratulations to Tony. WBA use Pulis' style of play marvellously. We will have to adapt." And the Spaniard remained in good spirit despite the midweek derby loss: "Against United we didn't have chances. We didn't even shoot on goal. But the spirit...we are fighting, like we were in the beginning."

Verdict

'Pulisball' - as they call it - despite not being easy on the eye, has methodically been very effective. You only have to look at their recent draw with Spurs to back this up. West Brom are a physical outfit that will look to frustrate City and punish them with their devastating height from set-pieces. 

However, 'The Baggies' are prone to allowing opposition a lot of possession and City will definitely thrive from this. If the visitors control the game like they are expected to then I can't see past their constant pressure eventually breaking down a stern West Brom defence.