Ah, thank God for that. The last international break of the calendar year is over. Premier League action returns this weekend, and City’s fixtures will be uninterrupted for the rest of 2020.
It’s a big one, too, to mark the league’s return. City travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur, who currently sit second in the league.
Three points against Jose Mourinho’s side would be a huge boost for the club, and, in addition, it would be a welcome occasion to mark Pep Guardiola’s new contract with City if he could get one over on his longstanding rival.
Guessing a Guardiola XI is tough at the best of times, but having to do it after an international break makes it even more difficult.
With that said, I’m not going to waste my time putting too much thought into this, so here’s the eleven players I guess might play on Saturday evening.
Thankfully, at least some positions are easy to guess. Scott Carson might have recently spoken of his desire to play at least one game for City, but it won’t be coming tomorrow. Ederson will obviously start in goal.
In defence, I think it’s safe to assume Kyle Walker will remain at right-back, with the in-form Joao Cancelo deservedly keeping his place on the opposite flank. At the heart of the defence, Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte will likely be chosen for another big test against the Spurs front-line boasting Harry Kane, Son and Bale.
In midfield, the Spaniard Rodri will almost certainly feature, while I’d expect Ilkay Gundogan – the man who divides opinion among City fans – to start as he did v Liverpool. Tottenham are a tough team, and Guardiola will likely favour the German to help keep City sharp in possession. Kevin de Bruyne, obviously, will start.
So, that’s the same defence and midfield as started against Liverpool. The idea of Pep not rotating anyone is hard to imagine but I’m gonna stick with that.
Against Liverpool, the front three was Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. I think the latter two should retain their places in the team, but the young Spaniard – in spite of his heroics against Germany – will be benched. In will come Phil Foden, who impressed against Iceland and has not started as many games as he should have this season. I’m hopeful that will start to change.
On the bench: Zack Steffen, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Aguero.
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