Pep Guardiola’s outfit travelled to Stamford Bridge for Thursday’s Premier League battle and ran out 1-0 winners, despite coming under the cosh for large portions of the match.
Depending on City’s success in the cup competitions, they could play up to nine matches this month, so rotation will be key for Guardiola. However, the Catalan is expected to rest more players for Wednesday’s trip to Southampton in the Carabao Cup.
City played with an unorthodox system at Stamford Bridge that saw Joao Cancelo push up on the right flank and Rodri drop into the back four out of possession, but given Guardiola abandoned that plan at half-time, he’s unlikely to deploy a similar style at the Etihad on Sunday.
With a never-ending run of tough fixtures, it’s hard to predict who will be rested in which games. John Stones just put in arguably his best defensive display of the season, earning him the Man of the Match award on Thursday; whilst Nathan Ake played the full 90 minutes, and Manuel Akanji participated in the second half.
Rico Lewis has been incredibly impressive since the season’s restart, and after another great display, this time off the bench, will he be called upon again? Kyle Walker and Cancelo performed below their best midweek, but they will have to start getting consistent game time at some point, and what better second chance?
Julian Alvarez rejoined the squad this week after his World Cup triumph, which Guardiola tipped would happen well in advance. After failing to feature on Thursday, you would imagine he is set to make his first appearance for the club since the restart.
Will it be a front two, with him partnering Erling Haaland, which Guardiola has spoken about in weeks gone by, or will he be leading the frontline on his own?
Cole Palmer has yet to feature for City properly since the Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool. He made a brief cameo against Leeds United but nothing other than that. The more experienced youngster in Foden has been struggling for game time recently; can he notch back-to-back starts?
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
In what is set to be an enthralling contest, here is how Some Man City Fans and Media expect Pep Guardiola’s side to line-up.
Evening Standard XI : Ortega; Lewis, Stones, Ake, Cancelo; Phillips, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Alvarez, Grealish
City Report XI: Ortega; Walker, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo; Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Foden; Palmer, Alvarez, Grealish
City Xtra XI: Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Aké, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish.
Who do you think will be in the XI against Chelsea?
Best Starting XI base on Majority: Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Aké, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo; Mahrez, Alvarez, Grealish.
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