The phrase ‘biggest game of the season’ gets bounded about a lot these days. In the hunt for the unprecedented quadruple, lots of Blues are trying to claim what our biggest game left is. If you want my opinion, it’s Manchester United at Old Trafford. But this one for sure isn’t far behind – especially knowing who City could face should they progress…
Tonight, Manchester City face Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final, with the Blues already a goal down on aggregate. Guardiola’s men will go into this game knowing this week will define their season. Lose – the momentum could derail the remainder of the season. Win – the momentum could be invalubale as City look to take their place in history. With Ajax beating Juventus on Tuesday night, there might not be a better opportunity for Guardiola’s side to stake their claim for the 2019 Champions League.
If I’m confident in any group of players to pull us through, it’s these guys. However, the Blues know that their potential victory will bring more games into their final months of the season as they continue to fight tooth and nail for every single trophy.
City will juggle the physical, mental and emotional come kick off at the Etihad, anticipating a battle but anxious for the ongoing war. Whatever happens, it will take one hell of an effort!
Pep Guardiola confirmed the only absentees are Oleksandr Zinchenko and Claudio Bravo, with Fernandinho returning to training after his injury scare at the weekend.
For Spurs, Deli Alli has made the trip up to Manchester but will be assessed prior to the match if he is ready to play after suffering a broken hand. Erik Lamela has trained having been absent since March with a hamstring issue, whilst Serge Aurier (hamstring), Eric Dier (hip flexor), Harry Winks (groin) and Harry Kane (ankle) are all out of contention.
City Xtra Predicted XI:
We’ll start with Ederson in goal, who might have even done better with Son’s goal last week if it wasn’t for Nicolas Otamendi running into him five minutes prior. Kyle Walker had a shaky game in the first leg but was at his assured best on Sunday against Crystal Palace, completely shutting Wilfred Zaha out of the game. With Zinchenko side-lined and Pep easing Mendy back to fitness, I think Danilo will operate at left back. Then I think John Stones will partner Aymeric Laporte with City expected to have the majority of the possession.
Fernandinho had an injury scare at the weekend, but with Pep confirming he’s okay, he’s a certainty at the base of the midfield. And after a good 70 minute rest against Palace, Bernardo Silva, who we dearly missed in the first leg, will come into midfield. How good has Kevin De Bruyne been recently? This is the sort of game the Belgian lives for and we could be in for another magical performance from him.
Raheem Sterling will play on the right, obviously. And with the combination of him and Leroy Sané working so well on Sunday, I think Pep will stick with it. I hope Sergio Agüero is sharpening his senses for Wednesday because we’re going to need him to be at his best if we’re to progress.
City Bench: Aro Muric, Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden.
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