Manchester City’s league season isn’t going to plan, but they still have a perfect record in the UEFA Champions League to maintain when they head to Greece on Wednesday night.
With three wins from three group stage games so far, Pep Guardiola will be hoping his side can pick up another three points, which would guarantee that they progress into the knock-out stages with two matches in hand.
According to Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, everyone except Nathan Aké is fit for Wednesday’s match. However, reports have indicated that Kevin de Bruyne and Kyle Walker will stay in Manchester with Aké to rest ahead of the weekend. The youngsters travelling to Greece include Tommy Doyle, Cole Palmer and Felix Nmecha.
Ederson is almost guaranteed to start in goal, for consistency more than anything else. In front of him, I assume we’ll see Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko as full-backs, with Benjamin Mendy more likely to be saved up for a Premier League match in my opinion.
The centre-backs probably won’t be the same partnership we saw in the Premier League – I think both will get a rest, meaning John Stones will probably partner Eric García at the back.
In the midfield, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is where we see Ilkay Gundogan played at defensive midfield for the first time in a while, with Rodri rested. That could mean Phil Foden starts in front of him, probably next to Bernardo Silva.
Ferran Torres seems to be the ideal candidate to start this game – his record so far in the Champions League is impressive, scoring three goals in as many appearances, and averaging a goal every 63 minutes. Riyad Mahrez, who really needs to start playing himself out of poor form, should also get a start. I think it’ll be Sergio Agüero up top, resting Gabriel Jesus, who seems likely to be our starting striker for the remainder of the season now.
On the bench, we are of course allowed twelve substitutes in this competition. That means that the subs will just be the rest of the travelling squad who aren’t starting: Steffen, Carson, Mendy, Dias, Laporte, Rodri, Fernandinho, Doyle, Nmecha, Palmer, Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.
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