Manchester City will look to pick themselves up from a period of bad form as they welcome West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium. The Citizens have just two wins in five games, while the Hammers could be facing relegation if they don’t pick up some speed soon.
Here’s our predicted team for this crucial clash…
All indications are that Leroy Sané still isn’t quite ready to return to the pitch, while we already know that fellow winger Raheem Sterling will definitely miss this game with a hamstring injury. Oleksandr Zinchenko will also be unavailable after his red card against Spurs two weeks ago. However, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy are expected to be back to full fitness in time for this one.
Ahead of Ederson in goal, the crucial presence of Aymeric Laporte will be a welcome one. Although any of our central defenders look miles better next to the Frenchman, something tells me it’ll be Nicolas Otamendi who starts this particular fixture – but that’s just a guess.
On the right, it might be a good opportunity for Joao Cancelo to get some more minutes, resting Kyle Walker ahead of the upcoming run of big games. Meanwhile, we’ll probably see Benjamin Mendy on the left – Zinchenko is suspended and Angeliño probably isn’t a strong enough swimmer to reach the stadium by Wednesday, as much as that would be ideal. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see Walker on the right and Cancelo on the left, despite how poorly that went last time.
The midfield trio is fairly straightforward in my mind, but I know Pep will do something strange and unexpected. Kevin De Bruyne is the only outfield player I’m totally confident will start, and I’m hoping that’s in front of Rodri. Ilkay Gundogan is the man I expect to see next to the Belgian, but either Silva are surely worth a go.
Riyad Mahrez can stretch his legs against the Hammers again, after a magnificent performance at the London Stadium. Sergio Aguero will get a chance to push on after claiming the Premier League’s Player of the Month award for a record seventh time. With limited forward options at the moment, I think we’ll see Gabriel Jesus on the left side – and that’s fine with me, after he played well in that area against Aston Villa last month.
The bench is never easy to correctly predict, but Claudio Bravo is usually a safe pick. The same goes for John Stones and, in this case, Fernandinho. Bernardo Silva and David Silva, if they don’t start, should be there; as should Eric García. Phil Foden has probably graffiti’d his initials, his signature and that cool ‘S’ sign (remember those?) on the back of the chair in front of his spot on the bench by now.
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