With league commitments for February over and Manchester City leading the league with a 16 point gap over second place United, we next face Basel away in the Champions League and Pep Guardiola will be looking to put this fixture to bed as the home leg comes as after league games against Arsenal and Chelsea, and would be our third game in the space of seven days.
The Blues have a few injury issues with the likes of Benjmain Mendy and Gabriel Jesus being unavailable for selection. The good news is that John Stones is back in the team while Leroy Sané, Fabian Delph and David Silva have trained today and could travel to Basel.
Here’s how I predict City to line-up tomorrow evening…
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 Walker and Danilo are likely to be the starting full-backs. The former has been a solid and consistent performer on the right flank and the latter offers a more defensively astute option than Oleks Zinchenko on the left, something that Pep is likely considering when squaring up in a knockout match.
The partnership in central defence is a difficult call for once. Aymeric Laporte missed training but should travel, so we could see the partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones who were so important in our fabulous start of the season.
The midfield three almost picks itself with the possible absence of David Silva and the importance of this 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 guile to find a way through the Basel defence.
With Sané unlikely to start and Jesus still out, our front three has been pretty much the same for the last couple of weeks. Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero are clearly going to give us the best chance of making the game at Etihad in March just a formality. Aguero has had his criticisms this season but has sparkled in 2018, appearing much more effective in the build-up play to goals rather than just finishing off moves. He already has 13 goals this year. Bernardo is finally getting time to settle into the team and has shown glimpses of the player that helped an underdog French side reach the semi-finals of this competition last year and has been threatening a wonder goal since the beginning of January.