The opening fixture of Manchester City’s FA Cup defence sees League Two’s tenth-place side Port Vale travel to the Etihad. Guardiola’s men enter the fixture having won six of their last seven games, while John Askey’s Vale are unbeaten in five league games. The Stoke-on-Trent side’s best FA Cup finish came over half-a-century ago, when they finished as semi-finalists in 1954.
The two sides look set to compete in a relatively mismatched fixture, but the FA Cup is more than capable of producing a giant-killing. Here’s the eleven names Guardiola is likely to name in the hope of avoiding that possibility…
Team News and Injuries
For Manchester City, Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte both remain ruled out, although the latter has featured in training this week and, according to Guardiola in his press conference today, “feels good and in the next few weeks he will complete all training sessions for us.” Ederson is back following his illness in the buildup to the Everton game, and John Stones has returned from injury. Nicolas Otamendi however, has been ruled out of this cup tie by Guardiola, but is expected to return soon.
Port Vale have the fortune of seeing none of their players out injured or with a suspension for tomorrow’s game.
In goal, Claudio Bravo will probably continue in his role as cup keeper, following his appearance in our last three league games.
In defence, Oleksandr Zinchenko will likely feature on the left-hand side, with Benjamin Mendy needing a rest after his involvement against Everton on Wednesday. John Stones is just returning from injury and I fancy him to start tomorrow, hopefully silencing Port Vale striker Tom Pope following his tweets in June slating the England defender. Nicolas Otamendi was ruled out by Guardiola, so I’d predict Taylor Harwood-Bellis to play in central defence again. Eric Garcia only played on New Year’s Day so he may be rested, although to see him play tomorrow wouldn’t be too unlikely and would be welcomed by many City fans. Kyle Walker will probably start tomorrow, seeing as João Cancelo played 90 minutes against Everton in midweek.
City’s midfield will surely see Phil Foden start again, likely partnered by David Silva, who returned from injury not too long ago. Behind the two of them, I’d predict Ilkay Gundogan to come into the side, despite playing the full game on Wednesday.
For the front line, Riyad Mahrez will most likely feature on the right-hand side again. On the opposite wing, I’m predicting Angeliño to start the match, following his appearance in that area against Oxford in the Carabao Cup game two weeks ago. Raheem Sterling will lead the line in my view, following his absence for almost all of the Everton game.
Substitutes: Ederson, Cancelo, Garcia, Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Aguero
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