Predicted Man City XI vs. Burnley: Laporte to earn a second start next to Otamendi
Manchester City’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on September 16, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
We’re finally into February and City lead the league with a 15 point gap over second place United, and next up is a trip to Turf Moor to face Sean Dyche and Burnley. The Blues have a few injury issues with the likes of Mendy, Delph, Jesus, Sané and possibly even Silva and Stones being unavailable for selection. The good news is that we have plenty of players who could single-handedly win us a game and will be desperate to continue their good run of form. Here’s how I predict City to line-up tomorrow afternoon…
It’s been a given for a while now that Ederson is our first choice keeper and so he will start between the sticks. Ahead of him Kyle Walkerand Daniloare likely candidates to start in the full-back positions. The former being a solid and consistent performer on the right flank and the latter offering a more physically defensive option than Oleks Zinchenko on the left, something that Pep is likely considering when squaring up against the Clarets.
Partnering in central defence is a difficult guess for once. Pep surprised most by throwing Aymeric Laporte straight into the team to face West Brom and after his performance – and reputation before joining – you’d think he’d be likely to start again. Alongside him I think that Nicolas Otamendi is more favourable to be given the green light ahead of John Stones who missed the game against the Baggies through illness and might not be well enough to start tomorrow.
The midfield three could be a slight alteration to the usual with David Silva coming off with an injury in the last match. Thankfully the decision seemed to be just a precaution but with several important cup games coming up soon, it might be too risky to throw him straight back into a match. Because of this, I think Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho will make up the midfield, hopefully providing more than enough to control the game and find a way through the Burnley defence.
With two of our key forward players still out for a few weeks, our front three can pretty much pick itself now. Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero are clearly going to give us the best chance of taking all three points back to Manchester. Aguero has had his criticisms this season but has genuinely looked like a new signing in 2018, appearing much more effective in the build-up play to goals rather than just finishing off moves. Bernardo is finally showing glimpses of the player that helped an underdog French side reach the Champions League semi-finals last year and a continued run-in with the team can hopefully only mean he’ll get better.