The international break is finally over, and Manchester City will want to celebrate with a win as they visit Norwich on Saturday. Pep Guardiola’s players have mostly enjoyed success over the international break, although there’s bad news on the injury front for some stars. Here’s how we predicted Manchester City will line-up against the Canaries…
Leroy Sané isn’t expected back until after Christmas, but he may well return before Aymeric Laporte, who Pep Guardiola says will be out for around six months after surgery. Gabriel Jesus and John Stones should be fit for the trip to Norwich, as should Benjamin Mendy, who may be eased in slowly rather than thrown in from the start.
PREDICTED STARTING XI
Ederson is yet again a given in goal, despite Richard Wright’s sensational comeback in midweek. In front of him we’re almost certain to see John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, unless Fernandinho fancies a turn at the back. Oleks Zinchenko is likely to keep his place for the time being, but the right-back option is trickier to predict. I don’t think it’ll be long until Joao Cancelo makes his full debut at right-back, but maybe that will be more likely at home against Watford than here. So I’m predicting another start for Kyle Walker on the flank.
Rodri will, hopefully, get the chance to continue his stellar early-season form. The Spaniard is impressing every week and could be important for his defensive work away from home. In front of him, anything other than David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne would surprise me. De Bruyne has started the season in incredible form for club and country – and Silva is also showing signs of getting back to his breathtaking best, with a Man of the Match showing against Bournemouth under his belt.
The front three is full of potential variables. Could Mahrez come back in? Will Jesus get the nod? Both are possible, but I think the safest bet is to opt for what’s rapidly becoming known as our typical front three. Raheem Sterling, in dazzling form so far, will probably start on the left, mirrored by Bernardo Silva opposite. They’ll be flanking Sergio Aguero, who’ll want to add to his six league goals and move further ahead in the race for the golden boot.
The bench may be one of our strongest for a while, with several big-hitters back from injury. Claudio Bravo is a guarantee unless he gets a late injury, as are full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo providing neither of them start. Riyad Mahrez can’t be left out and Gabriel Jesus could get some minutes to aid his comeback from injury. Ilkay Gundogan should be a good option off the bench, and I predict Angeliño and Phil Foden will narrowly miss out on a place in the eighteen, with Fernandinho getting a spot instead.
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