Things are looking up after the Manchester City banter era of June 20th – June 21st, as we triumphantly bounced back from the devastating Wolves defeat by demolishing one of the finest sides in Asia. Now we face an even tougher test- Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan, feared worldwide. Will we disgrace ourselves yet again with another failure or will we solidify glory with victory?
Or wait, maybe it’s still just pre-season and none of it matters.
Yes, that’s right: It’s time for another instalment of Nathan Guesses Two or Three Players Right. Last time out I decided to declare that I was ‘confident’ Rodri would start- safe to say you won’t be seeing anything resembling confidence from me for the rest of pre-season. It’s second-guessing and self-doubt from here on out – promise.
Just like last time out, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Ederson, Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho are all amongst the absentees. All but Mahrez should be back in time for the Community Shield early next month.
I’m going to stick my neck out and say Claudio Bravo will start once again in goal, having played all of the friendlies so far. However, it seems a bit harsh for neither of the other two ‘keepers in the squad to get a turn, so maybe Grimshaw or Bazunu could see some minutes.
Across the back four we might see another start for Taylor Harwood-Bellis, partnered by John Stones. Oleks Zinchenko could come back in at left-back, with Kyle Walker starting on the other side. This would mean all four of our fit full-backs would see starts this tour, giving Pep plenty of options ahead of the start of the season.
Rodri didn’t start against Kitchee but I think we’ll see him get an hour or so here, with Phil Foden likely to be deployed ahead of him. I think there’s a good chance that Kevin de Bruyne will complete the midfield – David Silva has had plenty of minutes this month and we need De Bruyne back to his very best soon.
There’s no chance I’m getting the front three right, but if I just wrote ‘any three random forwards’ I doubt it would get past editing. So I’ll take a punt at Raheem Sterling, king of pre-season goals, through the centre – it’s likely he’ll start there against Liverpool. Leroy Sané and Bernardo Silva are good bets to start either side of him. Both are having a good pre-season and they started against Kitchee. Then again, maybe Pep will start the youngsters again and I’ll regret this whole article. We’ll soon find out…
Predicted Starting XI: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Harwood-Bellis, Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Sané
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