The sheer number of records within Manchester City’s grasp have given the post-title set of fixtures some intrigue, and on Sunday big ones could fall. City are tantalisingly close to records such as the most wins in a Premier League season – they’re currently level with Chelsea on 30. Chelsea’s record of 103 goals in a season is also under attack from the Shark Team, with City just one behind on 102, and they’ll fancy their chances of breaking this against the Terriers.
So while most will be anticipating Vincent Kompany lifting the trophy at the conclusion of the match, there is still much to play for on the pitch as this special side look to achieve immortality and become one that will be remembered for generations to come.
With that in mind, I’d expect Pep to continue to field a strong XI with light rotation.
As always, Ederson is a no-brainer. The Brazilian has enjoyed a sensational debut year in England and former Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía reckons the 23-year-old is one of the world’s top three goalkeepers. That’s up for debate, but what isn’t is that he’s perfect for Pep Guardiola’s style of football.
Since City clinched the title, Guardiola has rotated his right-backs and centre-backs, and I’d expect at least one change. In the centre of defence, I believe Vincent Kompany will return to partner Aymeric Laporte on the day the club captain will receive the trophy. It was Kompany-Laporte against Swansea and Otamendi-Laporte against West Ham, so common sense may be to go with Kompany-Otamendi, but my feeling is that Guardiola is using these final games to further bed Laporte into Premier League football. Look out for an appearance by the returning John Stones off the bench, too.
At left-back, I’m going for Fabian Delph again. I’d love to see Benjamin Mendy get a start, but given that he was an unused substitute against the Hammers and has yet to play more than 15 minutes since returning, he may have to be content with some minutes in the second half. On the opposite side, I’m going for Kyle Walker to retain his spot ahead of Danilo.
The midfield usually picks itself if David Silva is available, and if that is the case, I’ll go for the trio of Fernandinho, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne to start. Ilkay Gündogan’s good performance against West Ham could give him a shout of starting again, but as good as the German is, if El Mago and KDB are fit and able, they are just too good to leave out. The sentimentalist in me would like to see Phil Foden get a start, but that seems unlikely. Club legend Yaya Touré is set for a send-off against Brighton, and I see him starting in that fixture, but not this one.
Picking the wingers used to be quite straightforward, with Raheem and Leroy shoe-ins to man the flanks. The form of Bernardo Silva now means it requires second thought and he may well start at the Etihad, but I’m going with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané to start again, with Gabriel Jesus leading the line. The Brazilian endured a dry spell in front of goal either side of his injury, but is in great form having found the net in his last four appearances.