Urawa Red Diamonds vs Manchester CityClub World Cup, KO: 18:00 Dec 19, 2023, King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, Jeddah
A WOUNDED Manchester City probably want a trip to Saudi Arabia like a hole in the head, but Pep Guardiola will have to pick his side up for the World Club Cup semi-final on Tuesday against Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.
Nothing summed up City's inconsistent form as much as Saturday's disastrous slump against an off-form Crystal Palace. They were 2-0 up and cruising yet somehow conceded two late goals to drop yet more points in what is increasingly looking like a crisis.
They haven't kept a clean sheet in eight games and the last time they managed it in the league was at Old Trafford back in October. They have won just one game in six in the league and that was at Luton Town and only just.
Star man Erling Haaland will travel to Saudi Arabia, but is unlikely to be risked. City would face either Brazilian side Fluminese or Egyptian club Al-Ahly for silverware the club has never won before if they can beat Urawa.
The Japanese side defeated Mexican team Leon to make it this far, but could only finish fourth place in their J League this season. They are managed by Polish coach Maciej Skorza.
How the bookies view it
They have little doubt City will cruise through this and make them 1/7 generally although there is some 1/5 available with UniBet.
Recent head to heads
The clubs have never met before.
Players to watch
Rico Lewis is increasingly looking the part for City and the 19-year-old netted against Crystal Palace at the weekend, The exciting prospect will be of interest once the bookies price up the goalscorers markets.
It's not often you get a Scottish angle in this tournament, but Urawa's Dutch star Alex Schalk is a hero in the Highlands! He netted the winning goal for Ross County in the 2015 League Cup Final against Hibs at Hampden.
He also scored the only goal in their second round win over Leon so keep an eye for a price for him to net on Tuesday.
Anything else catch the eye?
There's clearly a gulf in the standard of the leagues here, but City just cannot be trusted to beat anyone at the moment and certainly not to keep a clean sheet.
Urawa are likely to be well organised and busy in keeping with most Japanese sides. Back them with a two-goal start on the handicaps at 6/4 with BetVictor.
This Club World Cup match between Urawa Red Diamonds and Manchester City will be played on Dec 19, 2023 and kick off at 18:00. Check below for our tipsters best Urawa Red Diamonds vs Manchester City prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.