Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: 20 September 2017
Referee: Mike Jones
Kick off: 20:00
UK TV: Not on TV
Manchester City kick-off their Carabao Cup campaign with a testing trip to The Hawthorns to face West Brom.
Pep Guardiola is expected to heavily rotate his team for the fixture in a month where games are coming thick and fast, which could hand opportunities to some the team’s academy talents, and the Spaniard could be forced to prioritise certain competitions in order to maintain his newfound success at City.
City have scored 15 goals in their last three matches and Blues fans will be hoping to continue in the same vein, can they do it against West Brom?
Skipper Vincent Kompany is back in training after suffering an injury but it remains to be seen whether he will be available for selection. After replacing Ederson against Liverpool, Claudio Bravo is in line for his first start of the season.
Chances could be handed to youngsters Phil Foden, who starred in City’s pre-season campaign, and Brahim Diaz, while City fans may have to witness Leroy Sané in the left wing-back role against, with first-choice Benjamin Mendy deserving of a rest. Alternatively, Fabian Delph could be tried as a full-back against one of the teams that he was linked with in the summer.
Ultimately, this is Pep Guardiola and it is City’s first match in the Carabao Cup so take everything written above with a pinch of salt. Guardiola fielded weakened teams in the competition last season so we can expect the same but the 11 players that actually start on Wednesday night is anyone’s guess.
West Brom have started the 2017/18 season relatively well, with eight points from five games in the league and also beat Accrington Stanley, 3-1, in the second round to make it to this stage.
Manager Tony Pulis said on Tuesday afternoon that he would field a strong side against City but whether he still makes changes from the side that drew with West Ham on Saturday remains unclear.
Regardless of the side that is fielded, you can guarantee that Pulis’ side will be resolute defensively and provide a test for City’s attacking force, who, last season, struggled to break down teams who were solid at the back. There is no doubt that City have improved in this regard but Pulis’ team could be the toughest test yet.
At this point in time, I’m certain on around six of the 22 players that will be on the pitch come kick-off. This really is just a massive shot in the dark.
Danilo winner in extra-time, 1-0. Don’t question it; don’t ask why. This is professional insight.