A Midfield Dilemma – Predicted XI for Manchester City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League)

Since Manchester City’s last defeat in all competitions, the blues have scored 21 goals in just four games, going unbeaten in four including a massive win against title rivals Liverpool at the Etihad. 

Next up for the blues is Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, who travel to the Etihad on the back of a stunning FA Cup victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Premier League newcomers are one of five teams to take points off the reigning Champions after the 1-1 draw at Molineux in the reverse fixture back in August – a goal from Aymeric Laporte snatched a point for the blues that day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League
Justice – Aymeric Laporte celebrates a huge goal at Molineux to bring Manchester City level.

Manchester City are not the only top six Premier League side to have been undone by Nuno Espirito Santo’s highly-talented side with Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all dropping points. It’s certainly a fixture that requires Manchester City’s strongest possible line-up in order to claim all three points and maintain pressure on Liverpool, who extended their lead at the top through victory at Brighton on Saturday.

Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo are the only certain absentees from this fixture with both the Chilean and Frenchman missing out through long-term injuries sustained earlier on this campaign.  Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany are both doubts for the game however both of them did train with the rest of the squad ahead of this game, as confirmed by Pep Guardiola in his press conference on Friday afternoon. 

Here’s City Xtra’s prediction ahead of Monday night’s clash at the Etihad:

Ederson is a certainty to return to action after his midweek break against Burton Albion in which Are Muric kept a clean sheet for the blues. The right-back position makes for an interesting debate at the moment with Kyle Walker experiencing a dip in form in the Premier League, while Danilo has been a calming presence when chosen over the Englishman. Walker did produce a good performance in Manchester City’s last outing and so we expect him to return to action against Wolves. 

At left-back, we’re expecting Fabian Delph to return to action following his red card against Leicester City on Boxing Day. Oleksandr Zinchenko performed well in the League Cup Semi-Final however his defensive capabilities are clearly being questioned by Guardiola in the bigger games, as proven by his exclusion from the blues’ last Premier League game.

Manchester City v Burton Albion - Carabao Cup Semi Final: First Leg
Delph Every Weekend – Fabian Delph warming up against Burton Albion in the first game he had featured in since the Boxing Day defeat to Leicester City.

Fernandinho is almost certain to start against Santo’s men after a relatively lengthy break by his standards (one week), and a much-needed one at that. The more attacking midfielders makes for a difficult decision for Pep Guardiola with all those in contention being in fine form. We do expect to see Kevin De Bruyne start once again and to be partnered by Bernardo Silva, being chosen over the in-form Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva. 

The front three is expected to be Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero for this one. Gabriel Jesus has scored five goals in his last two games, however the level of opposition in this one is a major step-up and so the Argentine may take his place. The two wingers have been rotated frequently in the past few games, however both are set to start against Wolves.

Predicted Starting XI and Substitutes:

predicted lineup

Follow City Xtra on Twitter: @City_Xtra

Follow the author on Twitter: @FreddiePye_

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