Manchester City will look to maintain their place at the Premier League summit as they welcome Newcastle to the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.
It’s going to take a lot of character for Pep Guardiola’s men to bounce back from midweek heartbreak in the Champions League. A blistering and jaw-dropping last-gasp comeback from Real Madrid saw City crash out of the competition having looked dead certs to make the final, although they can take solace in the fact that they’re still in pole position for the Premier League title courtesy of an eight-match unbeaten run.
A tough test against an on-song Newcastle side awaits, as the hosts aim to keep Liverpool at bay once more. Here’s how Guardiola could set his side up.
Heartbreak for Manchester City last time out / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages
GK: Ederson – The Manchester City number one has missed just one Premier League outing this term and is looking for a 20th clean sheet of the campaign.
RB: Joao Cancelo – Kyle Walker will surely be absent for this one following his enforced withdrawal in midweek, so Cancelo should start on the right.
CB: Ruben Dias – Will likely continue at the heart of defence in the hope of leaving a dreadful display at the Santiago Bernabeu behind him.
CB: Aymeric Laporte – John Stones is still doubtful for the hosts, so Laporte will likely retain his place (again in spite of an awful performance in midweek).
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – Nathan Ake is also an option to feature at left-back with Cancelo’s forced switch to the right, but the Ukrainian’s knack for creativity could be utilised here.
DM: Fernandinho – Could come into the fold in place of Rodri amid the slightest bit of expected rotation.
CM: Bernardo Silva – Should be set to retain his spot in midfield after proving one of his side’s bright sparks on Wednesday.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – Another solid performer in midweek, De Bruyne is absolutely pivotal to this side at the moment and should definitely start once again.
RW: Riyad Mahrez – Having re-found a very decent vein of form of late, he should keep his place in what will likely be a changed front three.
ST: Raheem Sterling – Could come in to lead the line, not having scored in the league since bagging a hat-trick against Norwich in mid February.
LW: Jack Grealish – Will have wondered how he didn’t wrap up the result with a brace of gilt-edged chances at the end of a disastrous Wednesday night but needs to brush himself down, potentially returning to the starting XI for this one.
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