Following a routine win against Preston in the third round of the Carabao Cup, Manchester City now face Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. Will City play their usual Premier League quality players, though? Here’s how we predict the Blues will line up…
Long-term injuries to both Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané means they cannot feature. With the problem of City’s lesser niggling injuries seemingly continuing, Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee) and Rodrigo (hamstring) are also sidelined for this game.
City also find themselves without Fernandinho after he picked up two yellow cards against Aston Villa at the weekend. This leaves Pep Guardiola with a difficult call on who comes in at centre back.
City will want to keep up their recent momentum after a more shaky start than recent seasons, so we can expect this line-up to be a mixture of the usual suspects and fringe players getting an opportunity. Perennial substitutes Claudio Bravo and Angeliño will most likely come into the side with academy player Eric Garcia given the chance to partner Nicolas Otamendi, who hasn’t started since recovering from his knock. Having only recently come back from injury, John Stones may sit this game out and, since he didn’t play at the weekend, we can expect to see Kyle Walker back to make up the defence.
Originally I’d have thought that Fernandinho might reprise his role in midfield for this match. But given his suspension, it’s likely that Ilkay Gundogan will keep his place in front of the defence after putting in a great performance against Aston Villa. While it’s often said that Phil Foden is the heir to David Silva, they could be sharing the limelight here; a combination already tried by Pep in the last round.
Continuing the theme of rotation, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero will probably start in the forward line, with Bernardo Silva moving over to the left to give Sterling a much deserved rest.
Big hitters such as Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus should be on hand for alternative attacking options, while Benjamin Mendy and Raheem Sterling are given the night off. Scott Carson, John Stones, and Joao Cancelo will most likely make up the rest of the bench, alongside young-guns Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Adrian Bernabé ready to come on should City find themselves with a handsome lead early in the game.
Follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra
Follow the Author here: @ignoblewretch