As the end of a busy January transfer window approaches, it will be something of a relief to return to the sane and relatively stable haven that is the Premier League. Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion travel to the Etihad looking to bolster their survival hopes, as new signing Daniel Sturridge provides the Baggies with a major boost. Here’s my predicted Manchester City team for Wednesday night’s clash…
Long-term absentee Benjamin Mendy will have company on the sidelines in the form of Leroy Sané, who was condemned to 6-7 weeks out with ankle ligament damage by Joe Bennett’s shocking tackle at the weekend. Gabriel Jesus is still out, and new signing Aymeric Laporte is unlikely to feature- although he is expected to be watching from the sidelines. Eliaquim Mangala may have left the club on loan by kick-off, but his destination remains unclear, and the same can be said of Tosin Adarabioyo.
Ahead of the reliable Ederson in goal, I expect Kyle Walker to line up on the right. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s remarkable rise looks set to continue after he was rested against Cardiff, and we’ve seen that Pep prefers his attacking ability to Danilo’s solid presence against defensive teams. I expect the young Ukranian to start at left-back (sorry Danilo).
In the centre of defence, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will probably resume their partnership, fighting to retain their place as Aymeric Laporte watches on. Fernandinho is the only suitable option in front of them, although that may not be the case for much longer as his compatriot Fred awaits news on a potential move to Manchester.
The creative wonder-duo of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva (who is available following a spell with his family in Spain) will be looking to add to their ridiculous combined goal and assist tally, supplying a front three that pretty much picks itself: Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling. We all know how fluid Guardiola’s attacks can be but I expect Bernardo to line up on the right with Sterling on the left. Aguero, in brilliant form, has always enjoyed playing against West Brom and this game should be no exception.
The hardest part of this team to predict is the bench. Claudio Bravo, Vincent Kompany and Danilo will be there for injury cover, as will Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Touré. I expect Brahim Díaz and Lukas Nmecha to complete the selection of substitutes with a view to getting some late minutes if possible.