An encouraging win over Crystal Palace must be firmly built upon if Manchester City are to get back to their best quickly enough to turn this season back in their favour. With a somewhat depleted squad, Pep Guardiola still has plenty of decisions to make ahead of kick-off against Atalanta. Here’s how we predict the Blues will line up in a crucial Champions League tie…
Pep Guardiola has said both Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker are ‘much better‘ and both have trained on Monday. However, Oleksandr Zinchenko was absent through illness, and Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané are still injured.
After an incredible performance against Crystal Palace, Ederson keeps an iron fist on his guaranteed spot between the sticks. The line-up at the weekend might give us a clue as to how City will set up against Atalanta, and with Kyle Walker fresh after recovering from an illness he could be utilised here. Nicolas Otamendi is another player who I expect to return, along with John Stones, meaning City’s short-lived, zero centre-back phase may already be over. With Zinchenko probably out after what sounds like a legendary engagement party, and Benjamin Mendy hardly up to a heavy schedule, I’d like to see Angeliño starting too.
In midfield, Rodri is quickly becoming indispensable. What’s more, a certain Fernandinho is getting on a bit and we need him rested for the weekend’s Premier League game. With that said, I’d be surprised if David Silva, who’s ageing himself, didn’t start. Ilkay Gundogan seems the most likely partner for El Mago (not that that usually goes well).
As for the front three, Jesus’ start against Palace means I expect Sergio Aguero back in for this one. He’ll be flanked by Riyad Mahrez, surprisingly rested on Saturday, and likely Raheem Sterling on the left.
On the bench, Claudio Bravo might as well have already started warming up his seat. Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho provide defensive backup while Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva will probably enjoy a prolonged rest. Phil Foden will be hoping, perhaps naively, that he might see more than five seconds of action this time and Gabriel Jesus is always an option if Aguero is struggling.
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